Etihad's European puzzle keeps getting bigger
A few weeks ago we reported on the steady pace at which Etihad is building an impressive collection of European airlines. To be fair, some (if not most) of them would not be around was it not for Etihad's deep pockets...in any case, it seems the Emirati airline is making an habit of rescuing ailing European airlines and making them their partners. The next one might be Alitalia, that might get a €300M capital injection from Etihad in exchange for around 40% of its equity (although a financial basket case, the geographical location of Alitalia's bases might be quite interesting for Etihad).
But Alitalia is not the only move Etihad has done in the European market in the last few weeks, two additional airlines, AirBaltic and Aegean Airlines have just closed codeshare agreements with the Emirati airline.
The AirBaltic deal, although small in terms of potential passengers benefiting from it, the Riga-Abu Dhabi route will be operated four times a week by an AirBaltic A319, is interesting in that it links two airlines that have been building somehow "alternative" hubs in their regions.
The codeshare agreement with Aegean Airlines, given Athens' geographical location opens up interesting connecting possibilities for passengers travelling between Europe, the Gulf region and beyond and, together with Air Serbia's acquisition strengthens Etihad's presence in the Balkans.
The question now is: who's next?