Etihad Airways confirmed (08-Mar-2011) plans to double Manchester-Abu Dhabi frequency, from seven to 14 times per week from 01-Aug-2011 - see Route Changes Table for more information. The new schedule replaces an update to an earlier Etihad announcement that the 01-Aug increase would be from daily to 10 times weekly. Etihad stated the new schedules improve connectivity between the UK and Australia, with the Etihad-V Australia alliance operating 14 times weekly into Manchester, in addition to 21 times weekly into London Heathrow. The new Manchester services increase Melbourne-Manchester from four to seven times weekly, and Brisbane-Manchester will increase from two to three times weekly. Etihad opened a business-class lounge in Manchester Airport in Nov-2010. [more]
Etihad confirms twice daily Manchester service
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Their initial Dec-2016 codeshare announcement was, in practical terms, small but showed the possibility, as they stated, to expand cooperation. However, it would be a leap to go from their handful of codeshares to a 17-Jan-2017 article from Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero that Etihad could invest in Lufthansa on the way to a possible merger between the two. A subsequent denial in a Reuters story that "A financial stake is out of the question at the moment", does little to dispel the rumour. Were it not for the last three words of that statement the rumour would lack credibility.
There is certainly logic for a deeper partnership - and the two have danced this waltz before. Equity involvement from airlines can cement partnerships, add to board influence and partially allow one side to gain financially from any matter it feels it is compromising away. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to a full blown merger, and even to Etihad's taking a 30% to 40% stake. A marriage between the new bedfellows does not seem an immediate prospect. Nonetheless the logic is there for a move; and the mere fact of a potential move is sufficient to rock the equilibrium.
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