Etihad Airways Enters into Partnership With AirBerlin

Etihad Airways will become airberlin’s largest single shareholder after increasing its stake in the airline to 29.21 percent. The combination of the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and Europe’s sixth largest airline will allow for the connection of both the airlines’ networks and frequent flyer programs which will provide service to 239 destinations in 77 countries.

The new partnership will mean that airberlin will move its Middle East operation from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, as well as operate four weekly A330-200 flights between Berlin and Abu Dhabi, starting on January 15, 2012. European travelers will have immediate access to 29 flights a week to Abu Dhabi from four German hubs and this will increase to 42 flights starting in the middle of April 2012. Both airlines will enact an extensive codeshare agreement, with airberlin codesharing on 24 of Etihad Airways’ 82 passenger destinations and Etihad Airways codesharing on 36 of airberlin’s 171 destinations. In addition, the airlines’ frequent flyer programs, Etihad Guest and topbonus, will be integrated allowing for passengers to earn from the other’s flights and receive reciprocal benefits.

Etihad Airways will also have two seats on the Board of Directors of the Air Berlin PLC and both companies will seek anti-trust immunity.

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