|Photo by airberlin/RAPP|
Reuters reports that Etihad has lost a court case in Germany over a codeshare agreement with airberlin on 29 flight routes from January 16, 2016, through March 26, 2016. The court ruled that the routes were not covered under an air traffic rights agreement between Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The routes had previously been approved by the German transport ministry since 2012, but in August 2014 the ministry reversed its decision and argued that the routes were not covered by the traffic agreement, which allows UAE airlines to fly to four airports in Germany -- not including Berlin, where airberlin is based.
Etihad had won a temporary injunction back in October to continue operating codeshare flights with airberlin. At the time the Administrative Court of Braunschweig in Germany said the injunction provided Etihad and the governments of the UAE and Germany an opportunity to resolve their outstanding differences.
Etihad Airways, which owns a 29.2 percent stake in airberlin, said in a statement that it plans to file an appeal. The airline also said it would continue to honor all previously booked itineraries.
An analysis in the Wall Street Journal notes that the dispute is playing out against a backdrop of "heightened tensions" between U.S. and European airlines and carriers from the Middle East. Airlines in the U.S. and Europe have lobbied their respective governments to stem the growth of Middle Eastern airlines, arguing that they benefit from unfair competition -- a charge the Middle Eastern airlines deny.
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