26-Apr-2012 10:33 AM

IAG CEO critical of potential Air France cooperation with Etihad Airways

International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh, responding to questions on whether a potential Air France cooperation with Etihad Airways would force a similarly preemptive move by British Airways, said (25-Apr-2012) the two carriers have "totally conflicting positions". "On the one hand, they are the most vigorous opponents of the Gulf carriers and now they are taking a totally different position with them," he said. As previously reported, Air France CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta, as reported by Die Welt, said the carrier is considering a partnership with Etihad Airways that includes the domestic routes of airberlin, in which Etihad has slightly under a 30% ownership position. Mr Spinetta said Etihad had proposed a partnership on some routes, adding, "A partnership with Etihad would only make sense for us on the Paris-Abu Dhabi route and to other hubs. On the other hand, a wider partnership would be possible if it included airberlin and its network in the German market."