Lufthansa and Etihad Airways have announced plans to codeshare on selected flights from the new year.
The agreement will see the German carrier place its code on Etihad’s twice daily flights from Abu Dhabi to both Frankfurt and Munich. Lufthansa dropped its own flights between Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi in 2015, so the new deal will enable the carrier to return to the emirate without incurring the expense of operating its own aircraft.
In turn Etihad will codeshare on Lufthansa’s services from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro and Bogota, giving the carrier access to two new South American destinations.
Codeshare services will start in January, subject to government approval.
The deal also incorporates an agreement (previously reported on here) for Lufthansa to wet lease 38 aircraft from Air Berlin (in which Etihad owns a 29 per cent stake), for use with its Eurowings and Austrian Airlines subsidiaries.
The agreements are a sign of a thawing of the relationship between the two airlines.
Only in January this year James Hogan, president and CEO, Etihad Aviation Group said that the carrier’s commitment to Germany “continues to be undermined by the lobbying efforts and protectionist tactics of Lufthansa, the national airline”.
And Lufthansa’s previous CEO Christoph Franz criticised the Gulf carriers for their aggressive European expansion, stating in 2012 that Europe’s politicians should “introduce a capacity limit”.
Commenting on the new agreement Hogan said:
“We have long seen Germany as a key strategic market for Etihad Aviation Group and this new relationship with Lufthansa marks the next step in our commitment to the leading European aviation group.
“Lufthansa is highly respected globally and I’m very pleased that we will work together in the future for the benefit of our customers.
“Additionally, we are, in our role as a minority shareholder in Air Berlin, fully supportive of the separate agreement reached today with the Lufthansa Group to wet lease 38 airberlin aircraft.
“It is very clear to us at Etihad Airways that Lufthansa is a like-minded, forward thinking organisation with which we can do strong, meaningful and mutually beneficial business.”
Meanwhile Carsten Spohr, chairman of the board and CEO, Lufthansa Group, said that the group would “consider extending our cooperation in other areas”.
“We are looking forward to partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group,” said Spohr.
“The wet-lease contract with Air Berlin fosters the growth of our Eurowings Group. The codeshare agreement of Lufthansa and Etihad will offer our customers more benefits and complement both airlines’ networks.”