The chief executive officers of six airlines in the Etihad Airways Partners group are meeting in Rome today to identify and progress collaborative initiatives designed to cut the carriers’ costs, increase their revenues, and expand sustainable choice for their customers.
(left to right) Bruno Matheu, Chief Operating Officer Equity Partners, Etihad Airways; Roy Kinnear, CEO, Air Seychelles; Stefan Pichler, CEO, airberlin; James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways; Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Chairman, Alitalia; Maurizio Merlo, CEO, Etihad Regional; Cramer Ball, CEO, Jet Airways; Dane Kondic, CEO Air Serbia.
The partnership summit is being chaired by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, and brings together the leaders of Alitalia, the airberlin Group, Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional, and the chief officers of Etihad Airways and Alitalia.
Etihad Airways holds minority stakes in Alitalia (49 per cent), airberlin (29.2 per cent), Jet Airways (24 per cent), Air Serbia (49 per cent), Air Seychelles (40 per cent) and Darwin Airline, which trades as Etihad Regional (33.3 per cent).
Today’s meeting follows the conclusion last week of an innovative collective financing agreement, through which US$700 million was raised on the international markets for use by Etihad Airways, Etihad Airport Services, airberlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Air Serbia and Air Seychelles.
“The airline industry is global, not local,” Mr. Hogan said. “Individually, we are small participants in the global market. But collectively, our partnership serves 330 destinations, flies almost 700 aircraft and carries over 100 million passengers each year, making us the world’s seventh largest grouping of airlines. We leverage the buying power, resources, relationships and influence of our participating airlines to achieve the most cost-effective and customer-friendly outcomes.”
Members of Etihad Airways Partners also work together to reduce costs and improve efficiency and customer choice through measures which otherwise would only be available through mergers or takeovers.
In addition to codesharing and joint commercial activities, the members of Etihad Airways Partners collaborate through resource sharing, adoption of best practice, and joint procurement of assets, services and supplies.
They also develop relationships between each other, or facilitate deals with external airline partners or suppliers.
Beyond last week’s joint financing agreement, the airlines also collaborate on the sourcing of IT platforms, aircraft and insurance, and share resources including pilot and cabin crew training.
A number of airlines in the group have sourced additional aircraft from each other or redeployed excess fleet to each other.
Employees have been transferred between airlines, enabling members of Etihad Airways Partners to recruit skills or provide fresh employment opportunities within the group.
Service and product of the partner airlines, in the air and on the ground, is increasingly being aligned as part of a strategy to offer customers a seamless, high quality product across Etihad Airways Partners.
Loyalty programs are also interconnected between the airlines of Etihad Airways Partners.
Etihad Airways Group has established the Global Loyalty Company, which owns the Etihad Guest program and majority stakes in airberlin’s topbonus, Alitalia’s MilleMiglia and the Jet Privilege program of Jet Airways.
Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional have all adopted the Etihad Guest program, while NIKI uses topbonus.
Alitalia and airberlin are also introducing the same Business Class service and product as Etihad Airways, initially on long haul aircraft, and many more opportunities for collaboration are being explored by all of the Etihad Airways Partners airlines for both passenger and air cargo services.