The significance of Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa working as one in Germany wouldn’t be lost on Etihad and its one third stake in AirBerlin. This is all about the Changi hub versus the Middle East hubs, as well as a strike back at the ME3 in general.
Which of course, includes the Qantas-Emirates partnership. The move is thus important not just for its specifics but its generalities.
This is the key part of the Singapore Airlines announcement this morning.
SIA AND LUFTHANSA GROUP FORGE EXTENSIVE PARTNERSHIP INVOLVING JV ON KEY ROUTES
· New Singapore-Düsseldorf flights included in wide-ranging agreement
· Partnership also includes expansion of codeshare ties, schedule co-ordination and joint fare promotions
Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Lufthansa have signed a wide-ranging partnership agreement that will see the two airline groups operating key routes between Singapore and Europe on a joint-venture basis, in addition to significantly expanding codeshare ties and deepening commercial co-operation.
Flights between Singapore and both Frankfurt and Munich, as well as flights between Singapore and Zurich, are to be operated under revenue-sharing arrangements. New SIA-operated flights between Singapore and Düsseldorf, which are to be launched in July 2016, will also be covered under such arrangements.
The two airline groups also intend to co-operate in key markets in Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia, co-ordinating schedules to provide customers more convenient connections between route networks, offering joint fare promotions, aligning corporate programmes to strengthen the proposition to corporate customers, and exploring enhancements to existing frequent-flyer programme ties.
In addition to SIA and Lufthansa, the agreement includes SIA subsidiary SilkAir, and Lufthansa subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss.
The expanded codeshare ties will provide SIA customers with convenient access to and from points in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, via the transfer hubs of Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich, with more than 20 new codeshare routes. Lufthansa and Swiss will in turn codeshare with SIA and regional arm SilkAir on more routes serving destinations in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Codeshare co-operation is expected to be expanded to more destinations in future.
Some of the benefits of the agreement will be introduced in the coming months, such as the new codeshare services. Other elements of the agreement that require additional levels of regulatory approval may be implemented progressively through 2016.
The importance of the German market to Australian tourism and business travel links to the EU cannot be understated.
The news should also enliven the small talk prior to board meetings at Virgin Australia, where the second and third sized airline investors in its holding company are Singapore Airlines and Etihad, each pursuing mutually hostile objectives and strategies in the Australia-Europe market.