Lufthansa to deepen catering, maintenance ties with Etihad

Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Etihad Airways are exploring deeper ties in areas such as catering and aircraft maintenance after the former adversaries sealed an accord last month to share seat sales. The joint projects in food services and plane repair and overhaul will need to be beneficial for both sides, Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr told Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview, adding that the links will stop short of either company buying a stake in the other. The article in the German daily follows a Bloomberg News report about the project. Lufthansa confirmed Spohr’s comments. The German airline and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad outlined plans in mid-December for code sharing on four routes as part of a wider deal for Lufthansa to lease 38 planes and crews from the Persian Gulf airline’s struggling affiliate Air Berlin Plc. That agreement marked a reversal for Lufthansa, which had previously criticised Middle Eastern states’ support for their airlines, while providing backing for Etihad CEO James Hogan’s strategy before he steps down in the second half of 2017. Hogan is scheduled to host an event with Spohr on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, according to an invitation released Sunday. Cooperation could also expand to include ground handling and security services in some regions, as well as flight dispatch and supply-chain operations, a person familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. (Richard Weiss and Deena Kamel Yousef/Bloomberg)

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