Etihad-Air Berlin enter ‘cost-effective’ Dreamliner merger plan

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Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan (left) and Air Berlin’s Hartmut Mehdorn (right). Photo - ArabianSupplyChain.com/WAM

The UAE’s national flag carrier and Germany’s second largest airline have announced the integrating of their Boeing 787 Dreamliner programmes as part of cost cutting measures and to boost cooperation between the code-sharing partners.

A combined Etihad Airways – Air Berlin team will oversee the joint-cooperation programme, which will combine the infrastructure, and perform routine operations like avionics, pool maintenance, training, engines and spare parts purchasing activity, and inflight entertainment systems.

The move comes as a result of Etihad’s acquisition of 29.21% stake in Air Berlin, making it the single biggest shareholder in Europe’s sixth largest airline.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline earlier announced it was purchasing 10 more Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners which took its tally to 41 of such aircraft. The deal also included the buying of 25 options and purchasing rights which made it the world’s largest operator of Boeing Dreamliners.

“This programme is the first of a range of initiatives that will bring significant cost synergies and savings for both airlines. It is an ideal solution for reducing the costs associated with the introduction of a new aircraft type, and an excellent example of the value of our partnership,” Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan said in a statement.

“It makes both operational and commercial sense to work together on common fleet issues and we expect the synergies we achieve through this integration to result in significant efficiency benefits for both airlines,” he added.

Air Berlin is awaiting delivery of its order that includes 15 Boeing 787s along with options and purchase rights on a further 15 aircraft. Boeing says it will deliver the order in 2015.

“Together with our strategic partner Etihad Airways, Air Berlin saw an opportunity to work as a team in developing the introduction into service of this innovative aircraft,” Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of Air Berlin, said in response to the merger plan with Etihad.

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