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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to offer paid access to its lounges

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to offer paid access to its lounges

The carrier is initially opening its London Heathrow lounge to the wider market

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Wednesday announced a brand partnership that will see its airport lounges opened to the wider market.

The changes come as the airline continues its restructuring after posting a $1.5bn loss in its last financial year.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announces leadership changes, job cuts expected

The arrangement will be initially introduced for Etihad’s London Heathrow lounge, which is being rebranded ‘The House home of Etihad Airways and other leading airlines’.

The House brand, which will be operated by No1 Lounges, may also be expanded to include other lounges in the future, Etihad said.

Outside of its home Abu Dhabi base and London, Etihad operates lounges in Dublin, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Sydney and Washington, according to its website.

“This new venture will enable the airline to maintain its brand presence, and at the same time enhance and improve the overall lounge experience for our premium guests,” said Etihad vice president of guest experience and delivery Linda Celestino.

“It will also provide an opportunity for our economy guests to upgrade their pre-flight experience.”

Etihad said the collaboration would allow better utilisation of the lounge.

Complimentary entry will continue to be offered to Etihad business and first class customers, those travelling in its the Residence suite and gold and platinum frequent flyers.

Ticketed business class and first class flyers on codeshare partner services operated by Etihad will also be eligible and premium passengers on a “small number” of airlines will continue to use the space.

In addition the airline is offering paid access to its economy passengers and passengers of other airlines, subject to availability.

Pricing was not disclosed.

The rebranding will coincide with the introduction of a “white-linen dining experience”, more extensive bar service and “more sophisticated” wine list.

In addition, the lounge will be reconfigured over the next year with new bar, dining room, reading room, shower and prayer areas.

The partnership comes after Dubai rival Emirates offered paid access to its lounges to lower tier members of its frequent fliers programme last year.

Read: Dubai’s Emirates offers paid access to 27 global airport lounges

Ratings agency Fitch said in August it expected Etihad to continue making losses through to 2022.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad to continue losses through 2022 – Fitch

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