A potential partnership between Air France-KLM and Etihad would not necessarily cause issues for Oneworld according to the alliance's chief executive Bruce Ashby.
While conceding that Etihad's 29.2% stake in Oneworld member Air Berlin "might create conflicting situations", he says "there's nothing in our governance to say an Air France-KLM partnership would be a problem".
Speaking at the Airline Business Alliances, Joint Ventures and Partnerships conference in Istanbul, he says: "Like it or not, Oneworld has forged some sort of link with at least two of the Middle Eastern carriers with their bilateral links with some of our members."
The prospect of co-operation between the airlines came to light earlier this year when Air France-KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta confirmed the carriers were looking to work together.
Ashby also points to Star Alliance member Air China's stake in Oneworld member Cathay Pacific as an example of how such a situation has been accommodated by the alliance, which he says is "very flexible".