(MENAFN) Abu Dhabi flag carrier Etihad Airways has requested Air Berlin, in which it holds some 30 percent, to offer codesharing with Air France, German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung cited Etihad's CEO James Hogan as saying.
Etihad itself is already in talks with Air France over a possible codeshare agreement.
Linking Air Berlin with Air France would not necessarily put the German carrier's membership in the Oneworld alliance into question. However, it would shift the carrier's network priorities to align even more with the broader Etihad strategy, and raise the question of how much additional value the alliance membership brings.
Hogan described Oneworld alliance as secondary. He put more hopes on bilateral partnerships than on large alliances like Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
Air Berlin does not need another loan from us, Hogan said, adding that it would return to profit in the next 12 to 18 months.
Air Berlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said in August that he expects the airline to at least post an operating profit in 2013.