As it looks to a new future after disastrous investments in Euro basket case airlines Air Berlin and Alitalia, UAE carrier Etihad signaled ‘normalcy’ in its ambitions this week by doing a new code sharing deal with Aerolineas Argentinas.
However it is the consequences of the Abu Dhabi based airlines refusing to further participate in the chronic failure culture of Germany’s second largest airline that are transfixing every other significant player in the intra-European markets.
Will Air Berlin fall under the control of the EU’s largest regional airline Ryanair, or into the hands of the benevolent monolith that is Germany’s biggest airline, Lufthansa?
That contest for Air Berlin, and the possibility of its contributing a sudden addition of 118 jets to the Ryanair low cost carrier brand is seemingly moving toward a rapid resolution, as outlined in this reprint of a Bloomberg report.
The urgency is being driven by the German government, which has kept Air Berlin flying, after it recently declared it was insolvent, with around a quarter of a billion Australian dollars in a temporary loan that the carrier should have little trouble in blowing in a very short period of time given its record for inspired financial management.
The Australian interest in what Etihad hath wrought is of course its success in growing its own version of Emirates, that other UAE airline, in serving this market via a Middle East hub, and a one fifth ownership of Virgin Australia Holdings.
Not that any comparison of the VAH investment with what happened with Air Berlin or Alitalia would be in any way appropriate.