Etihad Airways and airberlin have announced plans to integrate their Boeing 787 Dreamliner programs, affecting a total of 56 firm aircraft - which is more Dreamliners than are on order with any other airline - and saving millions of dollars for both carriers.
A combined Etihad Airways-airberlin team, led by Etihad Airways, will oversee the integration program, which will see the two airlines share infrastructure, pool maintenance, develop joint training programs, and streamline purchasing activity for engines, rotables, avionics and inflight entertainment systems, as well as work jointly on product development for the new aircraft type.
Etihad Airways chief executive, James Hogan, said: “This program 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, enabling Etihad Airways and airberlin to achieve economies of scale and avoid duplication in areas like design and certification.
“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.
“We will also be able to deliver a level of commonality across our B787 fleets in relation to onboard cabin specifications, which will provide passengers with a consistent product experience when they travel across the airlines’ extensive networks.”
In December 2011 Etihad Airways increased its stake in airberlin to 29.21 per cent, making it the single biggest shareholder in Europe’s sixth largest airline.
The move came just days after Etihad Airways announced it was buying 10 more B787-9 Dreamliners, taking its total order to 41, with 25 options and purchasing rights, making the UAE flag carrier the largest operator of the aircraft type in the world.
airberlin has 15 B787s on order with options and purchase rights on a further 15 aircraft.
Delivery will begin in 2015.
Etihad is viewed as the World’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards.