There have been rumours about a possible Emirates Etihad merger for a long time. It seems this is finally going to go somewhere.
Etihad has not performed well financially, mainly due to their investments in various failed airlines. Abu Dhabi & Dubai are just 1.5 hours from each other, with both being mega hubs for Middle Eastern airlines, which depend on connecting traffic for their existence. It makes sense to pool resources than compete with each other. The new airport, Dubai World Central, which is going to be one of the largest airports in the world, is halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, could help achieve that.
Bloomberg reported that preliminary talks have begun between the two airlines. Emirates and Etihad both denied the report saying that there is no truth to this rumour. Though it has always been this case. Whenever there is a rumour of the two airlines merging, it is denied.
Etihad and Emirates have increased collaboration over the year, with Etihad offering their pilots on secondment to Emirates. Will they take a huge leap forward for a mutually beneficial deal? Only time will tell. Also, there is pride involved as Abu Dhabi will have to give up their airline if they were to be acquired, and Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE.
If this does go through, Emirates + Etihad will be the largest airline in the world by passenger numbers.
[Ed’s note: It should be a logical step forward for the airlines to combine. The question then is when not if.]
Will the merger ever happen? What do you think about this move?