Etihad Airways has officially launched its own airline alliance, bringing together its growing network of equity partners.
According to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, the new Etihad Airways Partners programme “brings together like-minded airlines to offer customers more choice through improved networks and schedules and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.”
Initially, five of Etihad’s partner airlines have joined the scheme: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways and Darwin Airline. Etihad holds equity stakes in all of these carriers, but the company stressed that “any airline can become an Etihad Airways Partner, even if it is part of an existing alliance”.
“We are broadening our business model to articulate and define a partner proposition for like-minded airlines which will result in synergies and efficiencies for participating airlines on the one side, and enhanced network choice, service and frequent flyer benefits for the consumer on the other,” said James Hogan, Etihad’s president & CEO.
“The Etihad Airways Partners logo is a seal of excellence and global cooperation. It will be displayed on aircraft and on branded materials by a group of airlines working together to connect travellers around the world, and increasingly to harmonise standards in the air and on the ground.”
Hogan added that the Etihad programme differs from traditional airline alliances because it goes “well beyond pure commercial cooperation”.
“The potential for network alignment to maximise flight connectivity for passengers, together with a shared passion for superior service, are central to the ethos of the Etihad Airways Partner concept,” Hogan said.
“Frequent flyers will benefit from the formation of Etihad Airways Partners as it will remove the complexity and confusion that exists within the global alliances. 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.”
Members of the Etihad alliance will also have access to shared sales teams in certain destinations, joint procurement of services and supplies, and shared pilot and cabin crew training.
Etihad currently holds equity stakes in all five of its alliance partners, plus Virgin Australia, Alitalia and Aer Lingus.