Emirates

Emirates "open to Lufthansa partnership" similar to Qantas alliance

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.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

6 comments

  • KG

    KG

    9 May, 2013 01:49 pm

    I would question the benefit for mainly EK for forming an alliance with LH, given that they cover the majority of Europe and main gateways in the USA. Granted, the benefit for the QF alliance are also not too clear to me from an EK point of view (surely they do not benefit that much from the domestic market as QF benefits from having access to the rest of the world?). I would welcome the potential LH tie up however, esp if the benefits and mileage and status accrual is good. My biggest pet peeve of the EK/QF tie up is that I do not earn any SC on QFF when flying an EK flight number (and when booking EK under a QF flight number you pay a hefty premium).  If that would change with the potential LH partnership (i.e. when being Lufthansa M&M you can earn status miles on EK flight numbers) I would consider a switch. LH has a fantastic on-board product (ok, in F class) and their ground services are really nice too. I guess it is still a long time away, if it happens at all.

    Interesting times though, seeing Gulf carriers seeking partnerships and alliances. I wonder how long before some of the European legacy carriers will be swallowed up by a Gulf airline.

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  • Waynec

    Waynec

    10 May, 2013 12:49 am

    It will be even more interesting if QF and LH forms an alliance, which is not that impossible given that QF no longer serves Germany and LH doesn't serve Australia. It will definitely bring about more connections for QF customers via Asia, and enhance QF's strategy in SIN and in Asia. However, this will cross alliance boundaries and annoy the hell out of BA as well as other OW airlines.

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  • SF

    SF

    10 May, 2013 11:43 pm

    One of the biggest benefits that EK gains w/ its partnership w/ QF (and any potential partnership w/ LH) is landing slots in Europe. EK has effectively taken up all its slots, can't obtain more under its own name and therefore are hitting a wall when it comes to attaining greater market penetration in certain European countries. By using QF (and potentially LH), they can circumvent any governmental restrictions that have been imposed on them.

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  • KG

    KG

    11 May, 2013 12:01 am

    I doubt the QF partnership got EK any slots as QF only had slots in LHR (which they use themselves) and in FRA (which I believe they already gave up). A partnership with LH is indeed interesting as that might give them slots in Germany although I would think that this would not be approved by the German regulator (a partnership will probably be subject to LH not transferring slots to EK). EK already flies to most of the major airports in Germany anyway and LH definitely does not have any flights from DXB to German ports where EK does not fly to, in fact, I think EK flies more non stop destinations from DXB than LH does! As far as the rest of Europe EK has it pretty much covered already. The there are the passengers booking EK but would be flying LH (or QF in a more realistic example), not sure what that percentage would be. We know that the other way around it happens a lot as F themselve said that bookings for flights to Europe increased a lot since the partnership.

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  • alatar144

    alatar144

    11 May, 2013 10:50 pm

    I think that SF is referring more to traffic rights than to actual physical slots - LHR and FRA being two of only a few European airports that need to allocate/restrict their slot availability. I am certain that SF meant that EK can expand into Europe, especially into airports and countries where it is restricted, using the considerable traffic rights afforded to Australian carriers. Slap an EK code onto a QF flight where permitted - which should be most places with the notable exception of Austria - and EK can expand their operations virtually, the exact same way QF has expanded virtually via EK.

    That said, the logistics, both political, financial and physical, of doing so may be quite a bit more difficult. For one, QF International needs to return to consistent profitability before they can even consider doing it. Two, they need the aircraft. And three, the right to do so needs to be there, which as I understand it, most of Europe should be okay.

    Alan Joyce and Tim Clark have both said that this is a possibility they have investigated throughout their negotiations - notably in relation to Berlin - and it was said, by Mr Joyce I believe, that it shouldn't be too difficult to organise.

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  • Guy Betsy

    Guy Betsy

    13 May, 2013 08:57 am

    Over LH's dead body ! LH has always tried to restrict EK's request for extra landing rights in Germany, so does anyone think that LH will just lie low and let EK come inviting themselves? LH will certainly not be a feeder for EK flights and the only way I ever see this venture happening is if there is some sort of equity swap.

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20 May, 2019 06:59 pm

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