Etihad is expected to reveal plans for a code-share agreement with Aer Lingus tomorrow that will allow passengers to be booked onto the Irish carrier’s routes to the US and Europe.
The Gulf airline is considering taking a seat on the board of Aer Lingus as part of ambitions to build its own global network to rival the likes of British Airways’ Oneworld alliance.
Etihad took a almost 3% of Aer Lingus in May and James Hogan, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi-based airline, wants a seat on the board to cement ties between the two companies.
Etihad has been acquiring stakes in a number of carriers, also including Air Berlin and Virgin Australia, as it attempts to create its own global alliance of airlines.
A number of newer long-haul airlines are keen to break-up the legacy carriers’ stranglehold over global routes and Emirates is also talking with long-term BA partner Qantas over forming an alliance.
Hogan confirmed Etihad is keen to raise its stake in Aer Lingus but ruled out a full takeover bid to rival Ryanair’s €694 million offer.
Etihad has held talks with the Irish government over buying part of its 25% stake in Aer Lingus and is looking at stakes in other carriers.
“I consider this as a more cost effective than joining one of the major alliances. What we are seeing is 20% of our revenues are coming through this codeshare avenue,” Hogan told the Daily Telegraph.
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