By Shane McGinley
Abu Dhabi carrier reportedly looking at a joint deal with Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is in talks with aircraft manufacturers for a potential joint aircraft order with several carriers it holds stakes in, such as Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways, it was reported.
Analysts at CAPA – Centre for Aviation & Innovation said the move “could provide some of the carriers that Etihad has invested in an economy of scale that otherwise would be unobtainable.”
The report said the talks currently included Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways, with Aer Lingus and Virgin Australia likely to be added to negotiations at a later date.
Speaking at the IATA annual general meeting in Cape Town earlier this month, Etihad CEO James Hogan said it was “early days” regarding a potential joint aircraft order.
CAPA said executives from Etihad, Air Berlin and Air Seychelles had talks with Airbus and Boeing at the IATA meeting in Cape Town.
Etihad’s airline partners already coordinate on a number of fronts, such as joint deals on seats, in-flight entertainment systems, engines and maintenance. The three carriers will also share a simulator in Abu Dhabi and pool rotables and components, CAPA said.
A joint deal is likely to involve Boeing’s Dreamliner 787 aircraft, the report said. Air Berlin currently has 15 787s on order, Jet has ten and Etihad is due to receive 41 aircraft, with deliveries starting in late 2014.
Etihad began buying stakes in overseas carriers in 2011 and currently owns 29 percent of Air Berlin, 40 percent of Air Seychelles, three percent of Aer Lingus, ten percent of Virgin Australia and is awaiting final confirmation to buy 24 percent of Jet Airways.
An Etihad spokesperson did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the CAPA report.