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Etihad Announces New “Etihad Airways Partners” Alliance


A new airline alliance based around customer experience has been formed by a group of “like-minded” carriers.

One month after calling the concept of airline alliances “fractured,” Etihad Airways has announced the formation of their own network. In a statement on its website, the Middle Eastern carrier trumpeted the formation of Etihad Airways Partners alongside five additional founding members — Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Darwin Airline and Jet Airways.

In the new partnership, Etihad says their goal is to focus on “strong commercial partnership and shared values.” The charter of the newly founded group is to simplify the experience for the passenger and offer customers more than route sharing opportunities. In its statement, Etihad emphasized the opportunity to create a better flying experience for customers.

“The potential for network alignment to maximize flight connectivity for passengers, together with a shared passion for superior service, are central to the ethos of the Etihad Airways Partner concept,” said James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways. “We’re aiming to deliver a consistent experience for frequent flyers when they travel, as well as a consistent framework for earning and using their miles.”

The formation of Etihad Airways Partners comes less than a month after Hogan made comments at an IATA airlines conference in Abu Dhabi expressing his opinions on the international airline networks. “The model of alliances is fractured,” Hogan told reporters. “We believe partnerships are better, strong codeshare relationships and equity investments.”

Despite investments by Etihad in both Alitalia and Virgin Australia, neither airline was included as a charter member in the new alliance. However, executives at Etihad say they welcome any airline that wants to join their network, regardless of membership in existing airline alliances. Air Berlin, for example, will hold dual membership in both Etihad Airways Partners and the oneworld alliance.

[Photo: Etihad Airways]

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