March 14, 2012 / 9:53 AM / 6 years ago

Etihad, Air Berlin to share Dreamliner programs

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Etihad Airways and Air Berlin announced plans to pool their Boeing 787 programs, three months after the Abu Dhabi-based carrier raised its stake in Germany’s second-biggest airline to almost 30 percent.

Mark Jenks (R), Boeing's vice president of 787-9 development, speaks to an executive along the archway of the 787 Dreamliner during a demonstration flight of the aircraft at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Under the agreement, which the airlines said on Tuesday will help save millions of dollars, Etihad and Air Berlin (AB1.DE) will share infrastructure, pool maintenance and develop joint training programs for the aircraft.

They will also bundle purchasing for the Dreamliners’ engines, electronics and inflight entertainment systems and cooperate on product development for the planes.

Etihad has 41 of the planes on order, with 25 options and purchasing rights, while Air Berlin is due to take delivery of 15 Dreamliner aircraft from late 2015.

Air Berlin initially ordered 25 787s but canceled 10 of them, worth $1.7 billion, in 2010 amid uncertainty over whether it will increase its long-haul network.

A spokeswoman for Air Berlin said on Tuesday it was not yet clear which routes the 787s would service, and given the partnership with Etihad it could also not be ruled out that the planes end up flying for Etihad, she said.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan

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