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Etihad / airberlin Alliance Delivers Passengers

Etihad / airberlin Alliance Delivers Passengers

The year-old alliance between airberlin and Etihad Airways has allowed the carriers to deliver more than 300,000 passengers on to each other’s networks and collectively generate more than €100 million in additional revenues, far outstripping the initial estimates.

During the past 12 months the partners have also begun implementing a detailed procurement strategy that has already had an impact on international fuel purchasing, ground handling and ground services that will bring multi-million dollar savings for both airlines.

Highlights during this period include:

· Combined generated revenues of €100 million

· Delivered combined total of more than 300,000 passengers on to each other’s networks

· A combined flight network of more than 239 destinations worldwide

· Multi-million dollar savings identified across a wide range of business areas

At a press conference in Berlin, Hartmut Mehdorn, airberlin’s Chief Executive, and James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive, spoke about the range of initiatives that could bring further cost synergies and savings to both airlines.

Hartmut Mehdorn said: “With airberlin’s extensive European offering and the global orientation of Etihad Airways, we have proven from day one that we were able to maximise the potential of our strategic partnership.

“With more than 219,000 additional guests for airberlin coming from our co-operation we have generated additional revenues around €50 million. Furthermore, we profited from cost saving initiatives.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways, and Hartmut Mehdorn, airberlin

“Within a year, our codeshare offering has jumped to 87 connections. Currently, airberlin and Etihad Airways offer 239 joint destinations in 77 countries. We are continuously expanding this range, currently with new destinations in Asia such as Tokyo and Beijing, to which Etihad Airways flies via its home airport at Abu Dhabi.”

James Hogan said: “A year ago, almost to the day, we announced that we would lift our stake in airberlin to 29%. During this first 12 months both airlines’ teams have worked tirelessly.

“Through revenues generated, and cost saving initiatives, Etihad Airways has already recouped its initial investment of US$105 million.

“More than 300,000 additional passengers have flowed into the networks of both airlines in 2012 and that figure is set to increase considerably in 2013 as the impact of closer co-operation across almost every division of each carrier comes to fruition.

“The partnership expanded our network reach and it has provided us with further opportunity for global growth. There is still a long way to go as the partnership develops, but these results show we are on the right path.”

Airberlin and Etihad Airways announced earlier in the year that the airlines would integrate their Boeing 787 Dreamliner programmes. The move, which involves 56 aircraft, will save millions of dollars for both carriers, which together represent the largest single order for the Boeing 787.

Within the programme the two airlines will share infrastructure, pool maintenance, develop joint training programmes, and streamline purchasing activity for engines, rotables, avionics and inflight entertainment systems, as well as work jointly on product development for the new aircraft type.

In addition to the Boeing 787 programme, Etihad Airways will offer airberlin a range of benefits from its US$1 billion deal with travel technology provider Sabre Airline Solutions.

As part of the Sabre agreement, Etihad Airways will implement cutting-edge, integrated software across its reservations, inventory, marketing, planning, eCommerce, distribution and departure control operations.

The benefits to airberlin by sharing these items are the significant reduction to its technology costs, streamlining of its operations, increasing revenues and accelerating its growth around the world.

Hartmut Mehdorn said: “We have a partner by our side who helps us to achieve sustainable profitability in the face of severe international competition. We all know the situation in which the whole European airline industry finds itself.

“However, we at airberlin offer a product we strongly believe in. Together with Etihad Airways, we will be able to create even more synergies that will help us turning the business around in the current tough environment.”

Airberlin and Etihad Airways work together on the creation of ‘centres of excellence’ that will see a pooling of skills and resources for the benefit of both airlines.

A key example of this will be the provision of training and development for airberlin pilots at Etihad Airways’ world renowned facility in Abu Dhabi, which will begin in 2013.

Airberlin and Etihad Airways have also integrated the topbonus and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programmes and members can earn award and status miles on each other’s airlines.

Building on the frequent flyer programme integration, both carriers have also integrated their Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) loyalty programmes during the first 12 months of the alliance.

SMEs that participate in airberlin’s business points and Etihad Airways’ Business Connect are now rewarded for flying on codeshare flights operated by airberlin and its subsidiary airline, Niki, and Etihad Airways.

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Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.

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