9 JANUARY 2012
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Etihad Airways has become the largest shareholder in airberlin with a 29.21% stake, created by new shares. On the commercial front the move connects the two airlines’ extensive networks and frequent flyer programmes offering travellers 239 destinations across 77 countries.
Speaking in Berlin, James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, said:“This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth. Through airberlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary European market, with outstanding connectivity options for customers of both airlines.”
Hartmut Mehdorn, who holds the same position at airberlin, noted: “The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company. “This applies especially to future market development and the realisation of synergies.”
Under the partnership airberlin will transfer its Middle East operation from Dubai to Abu Dhabi; airberlin will operate four A330-200 flights a week between Berlin and Abu Dhabi with European travellers having immediate access to a total of 29 flights a week to and through Abu Dhabi from four German hubs. Etihad Airways will sign codeshare agreements with the airberlin group for all European activities including Niki, the Austrian airline, and Belair, the Swiss carrier. www.airberlin.com
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