In the wake of the Qantas-Emirates alliance, is another partnership of airline juggernauts – this time involving Emirates and Lufthansa – on the horizon?
Emirates Airline CEO Tim Clark says he's open to a joint venture with the globe-striding German carrier, although he stresses that "there is nothing on the table now."
"Lufthansa, we hear, are examining options" Clark told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market.
"What I am saying is, would I shut the door to that kind of a thing? We are open to a commercially – like we have with Qantas – a well-understood partnership that delivers a value to both carriers without any distortion."
Emirates pursued a partnership with Lufthansa in 1992, with discussions getting "quite a long way down the road" Clark recalls, "and suddenly Lufthansa pulled the rug. They discontinued negotiations overnight and left me high and dry."
Competing Gulf carrier Etihad holds a 29% stake in Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline after Lufthansa, while Qatar Airways is said to be in discussions with British Airways about a joint venture on routes between Australia and the UK, taking over from the Qantas-BA alliance which was dissolved in March this year.
Qatar Airways is set to join the oneworld airline alliance in October under the sponsorship of BA.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT