Another huge deal coming out of the Middle East, with Etihad Airways announcing a 10-year, $ 700 million, “game-changing” tech tie-up with IBM.

A joint release confirmed that the deal would also benefit Etihad’s equity partners – carriers such as airberlin, Alitalia and Jet Airways –  in which it has a stake.

The wide-ranging deal with IBM is headlined as “providing Etihad Airways and its partners with cloud, analytics, mobile, security and cognitive technologies.”

There is also “a new cloud data centre in Abu Dhabi…developed and operated by IBM” and a “joint technology and innovation council in Abu Dhabi to develop more personalised travel solutions using IBM’s global research capabilities and the airline’s industry expertise.”

And there is reference to Etihad being able to take advantage of IBM’s Watson cognitive technology.

The tie-up is the latest example of Etihad taking the lead on a deal which will benefit the airlines in which it has a minority stake. Last week Etihad extended its existing deal with inflight entertainment provider Global Eagle Entertainment to five of its partner airlines.

The implications for Sabre of Etihad’s tie-up with IBM are not immediately obvious. Sabre is now four years into its 10-year deal with Etihad, which was worth one billion dollars at the time, and there appears to be some crossover between what Sabre and IBM can offer Etihad (and its equity partners).

Having said that, the deal could see Sabre and IBM working together, again.

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Another huge deal coming out of the Middle East, with Etihad Airways announcing a 10-year, $ 700 million, “game-changing” tech tie-up with IBM. A joint release confirmed that the deal would also benefit Etihad’s equity partners – carriers such as airberlin, Alitalia and Jet Airways –  in which...