Etihad Is Rumoured To Be Joining The Star Alliance

On the back of the news that Eithad might be breaking their partnership with American for United, is that they might join Star Alliance.

If true, it would give Star Alliance access to not only the middle eastern market but make it one of the most powerful alliances in the world.

What are the details?

Etihad has been flirting with joining an alliance for sometime. Back in August last year, the CEO of Etihad was reportedly frustrated how they could not create codeshare routes with many airlines because they were part of an alliance.

“In the past, the Etihad Group was identified as being an alliance itself and, consequently, under the rules of Star Alliance, its members were not allowed to engage in collaboration with us on codeshares,” – CEO Tony Douglas, Etihad

As Etihad continues to reinvent itself and strive for sustainable profitability, it is looking for collaborators to expand its influence into. Star Alliance is one such opportunity.

This would place Etihad in direct comparison to Qatar, who is a member of One World. Emirates, the third middle eastern carrier, is not currently a member of any alliance.

Etihad Is Rumoured To Be Joining The Star Alliance
Etihad Airways has 45 Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order. Photo: Etihad

Questions have been raised if Etihad’s current financial situation would be able to absorb the Star Alliance joining fees, ongoing membership expenses, plus the one-off expenses of upgrading the computer systems and integrating their loyalty program.

However, it is important to remember that Singapore is a major player in the Star Alliance and they would compete directly with Etihad for the Kangaroo Route. Would they allow Etihad to simply join or would they veto any application?

Singapore A350
Singapore Airlines was the launch customer of the A350-900ULR. Photo: Singapore Airlines

At any rate, this rumor that they are ‘just about to join’ has been swirling for the last few years. Likely if there is any truth to it, we would see some movement after the American to United switch is complete. After all, these rumors have to come from somewhere and maybe Etihad is currently negotiating.

What does this mean for award availability?

For those with plenty of American miles, be sure to lock in those flights ASAP. Many bloggers and point hunters are reporting rumors that Etihad might cancel redemptions with American points as soon as tomorrow.

American Airline miles are some of the easiest ways to book business and first onboard Etihad and can be cheaper than actually using Etihad points.

But if you are a frequent user of Star Alliance airlines (such as the excellent Singapore Airlines) then you might be about to gain access to one of the world’s most luxurious carriers at a fraction of the cost.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.