Etihad is reportedly open to joining Star Alliance

By David Flynn, August 10 2018
Etihad is reportedly open to joining Star Alliance

Etihad Airways has opened the door to working with and potentially joining Star Alliance as the airline seek to re-invent its business model to include new alliances and codeshare partnerships.

Etihad launched its own partner alliance scheme in 2014 with seven other airlines of which three – Etihad Regional, Airberlin and Niki – no longer operate, while Alitalia continues to struggle after filing for bankruptcy in 2017.

Arabian Business reports that Etihad Aviation Group CEO Tony Douglas indicated the airline could be looking at building closer ties with Star Alliance, beginning with codeshare flights with Star Alliance members, along the same lines as its agreement with Star Alliance member Lufthansa.

“In the past, the Etihad Group was identified as being an alliance itself and, consequently, under the rules of Star Alliance, its members were not allowed to engage in collaboration with us on codeshares,” Douglas said, although he reportedly "stopped short of saying anything that would confirm Etihad would be joining the global Star Alliance network just yet."

The airline would shift away from a "growth for growth’s sake" strategy and instead “look for sustainable growth”, which would see a role for “partners to build connectivity with their networks through codeshares wherever both parties agree to do so,” he added.

As previously reported, Etihad is also considering adding premium economy class to its fleet, cutting back on the number of aircraft it has on order and 'right-sizing' its network to focus more on point-to-point flights than the current Emirates-style 'super hub' model aimed at making Abu Dhabi the crossroads for connecting passengers from all corners of the globe.

“The eventual aim of this process is for Etihad to be in the best shape to ensure its long-term sustainability, enabling it to meet the challenges of an aviation industry in constant flux," Douglas said.

This will likely include cancelling scores orders for Airbus and Boeing jets as Etihad puts the brakes on a long-running and costly attempt to close the gap with larger Persian Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Read more: Etihad mulls premium economy, fewer new planes, revamped network


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 345


Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 103

Good news. I hope this can force Virgin Australia to join Star Alliance as well - the only way to save its Tasman business.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 171

Will Air NZ allow that?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 312

EY is likely to be facing a veto from UA.

UA (along with DL) have been vocal among the US3 of the 'alleged' unfair competitive practices of ME3.

The *A ship has long sailed for VA. NZ and UA will very likely veto any VA application, along with the lack of interline arrangements for NZ post Oct. That's how much they hate each other.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 97

Veto from UA, LH and SQ why have all been VoCal about unfair competition from the MEB3

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 364

The only reason I can think of UA vetoing EY is its current partnership with AA. But that partnership isn't that strong so it won't be surprising if EY turns to UA as its US partner.

AA has already allowed QR joining OW (and they openly hate each other) so I don't see why UA would veto EY from joining.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 79

AA allowed QR to join OW, and following the sham agreement where the ME3 won in every important way, the US carriers just aren't interested in attacking them anymore, as the deal allowed them to save face.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

Yes Please and bring Virgin Australia along with you for the ride

I always thought SkyTeam was the better fit, considering Etihad invested in at least one SkyTeam airline (Alitalia). In addition, Etihad is allied with Virgin Australia, just like Delta is. It would also give Korean Air a domestic Australian partner too.

But who knows. Alliances are becoming less important and less rigid over time so maybe it will happen and maybe it won't.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 329

Agreed, VA’s only chance is SkyTeam.

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 78

Traveled in EY in its “ Reimagined “ era and they won me hands down . Flew 2017 and they lost me . I wish them well on their restru

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Aug 2018

Total posts 5

I suspect the ship has well & truly sailed for VA moving to Star Alliance or One world given Air NZ would veto for Star & it would be a non starter in OW - options are limited and I suspect knowing this they are staying as they are

Eithad has codeshare with Air New Zealand with ANZ also having agreement they ( EY ) do not fly to NZ market direct - with Qatar in OW - Star Alliance first choice would be Emirates but given that's unlikely - Eithad would be boost

01 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

This idea that VA is doomed without NZ is quite absurd. It is a well known fact that majority of passengers across the Tasman do not connect to domestic flights in NZ. More passengers tend to connect in the opposite direction providing opportunities for VA. It should never be forgotten (although completely different business model today) that NZ was ultimately bailed out by its Government thanks to Virgin Blue now VA. NZ has so much on the line and so much to lose partnering with its longtime enemy QF. The QF product is below par at best and the two have a very different approach to their customers.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

14 Aug 2018

Total posts 5

Hamish, apologies but I think you missed the point - govt bailout for ANZ is ancient history - move on and bear no relevance to current situation. Working with VA I can absolutely share with you the value we received ( and clearly not a one way street ) from AIRNZ and under our current leadership with chaotic approach to fleet / product / route planning optimization I respect Air NZ for kicking us to the curb, we left them little choice

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 312

Gov Bailout of NZ was due to the AN situation (and the decisions of Selwyn Cushing), nothing to do with DJ.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Dec 2016

Total posts 45

Etihad would be much better served by treating its Business Class passengers with more respect by stopping the removal of benefits like PJ's , Transfers and the cheapening of the menu

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