Etihad open to further 'equity alliances'

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Etihad Airways has raised the possibility that it will add to its web of shareholdings in other airlines.

"We will consider more strategic partnerships if they add value," says chief executive James Hogan, in remarks which Etihad acknowledges to have "foreshadowed more investments in other airlines". The Abu Dhabi carrier already holds minority stakes in Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Seychelles, Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) and Virgin Australia, and is finalising the acquisition of a shareholding in India’s Jet Airways.

“Global reach is beyond the capacity of any single airline, and progress must come through partnership," says Hogan. "The investments we are making are delivering significant benefits not only to the airlines but to our passengers and freight customers.”

He adds: “Equity investments deliver synergy benefits which cannot be achieved through legacy airline alliances."

Where legacy alliances are focused on network and revenue benefits, equity alliances deliver opportunties to reduce costs through resource sharing and joint procurement, argues Hogan.

“Our equity alliance is a new business model for the airline industry,” he says.