Are Etihad and Lufthansa negotiating a ‘merger light’? Etihad to join Star Alliance, European short haul network to become Eurowings

The German magazine FOCUS reports that Etihad is apparently busy negotiating with their new found love affair Lufthansa.

After Lufthansa decided against taking over Air Berlin outright earlier this year the parties are now negotiating an asset lease where Lufthansa takes over most of the Air Berlin/ Air Serbia and Alitalia short haul flights.

Lufthansa is short on planes for their monstrous new Eurowings project that is supposed to makes sure Ryanair will get a run for its money.

Etihad of course wants to stem the losses and get access to more Lufthansa codeshares. Founding member of Star Alliance (and also having their headquarters in the same city) the airline is supposed to put its weight behind a fast track Etihad Star Alliance application approval.

This would all be good news – Etihad gets rid of the money losing short haul business it should have never been in in the first place. Lufthansa gets the strategic might against Ryanair and Etihad becomes a full Star Alliance member and continues to invest into its superb long haul service.

From Focus via Google Translate:

Lufthansa is economically successful and has just doubled its operating profit – to one billion euros in the first half of 2017. The carrier wants to quickly expand its low-cost fleet to 300 aircraft by the daughters Eurowings / Germanwings (130 engines), to provide Ryanair (392 aviators) And other low-cost airlines. Etihad is keen to get rid of its stake in Air Berlin (29 percent), including the accumulated loss of a good one billion euros. A consortium under Lufthansa’s stake could take over the shares. As FOCUS writes on the basis of negotiations, Air Berlin could already need a new capital injection at the end of 2017. In return, Etihad wants Lufthansa to get more common long-haul flights (code sharing) and access to the flight alliance Star Alliance, FOCUS reports. Lufthansa did not want to comment on the content of the talks.