By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline says US facility is its seventh outside UAE; will also service airberlin planes
Etihad Airways has opened a line maintenance base at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the UAE flag carrier's seventh outside Abu Dhabi and its first in the United States.
The new facility will perform all scheduled and non-scheduled line maintenance for Etihad's daily Boeing 777 aircraft flying into Chicago from the UAE capital.
In addition, the new base will also provide line maintenance services for airberlin's new Airbus A330-operated Chicago flights, a statement said.
airberlin, in which Etihad has a near-30 percent stake, begins its three weekly nonstop Berlin-Chicago services on March 23, rising to five a week in the summer.
James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: "Extending our new Chicago line maintenance facility to airberlin, is another excellent example of the value of our strategic partnership, enabling both carriers to achieve greater technical and cost synergies.
"As partners, it makes operational and commercial sense to work together on issues such as common maintenance, and we expect the synergies and efficiencies we achieve through this specific integration to deliver tangible benefits for both our businesses."
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO of airberlin, added: "The cooperation between airberlin and Etihad Airways in the area of line maintenance has already proven its worth.
"For us, it was therefore a logical step to draw on the expertise of Etihad Airways in terms of maintenance for Chicago, thereby ensuring high-quality and reliable maintenance at our new US destination."
Etihad Airways is deploying a team of Abu Dhabi-trained line maintenance aircraft engineers to be based at the new Chicago facility, with additional engineering support provided by Chicago-based aircraft maintenance provider, Flightcheck.
The maintenance services to be performed in Chicago will include transit, daily and weekly checks, scheduled engineering services, and fault repairs for aircraft systems and cabin issues.
In addition to extending line maintenance services to airberlin, Etihad Airways will also offer full technical handling for at least one other carrier.
Etihad's existing line maintenance facilities are in Dublin, Lahore, London-Heathrow, Manchester, Melbourne and Sydney.