6 APRIL 2015

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Article from BTNews 6 APRIL 2015

Darwin OK for Etihad

Switzerland's civil aviation office (BAZL) has approved Etihad Airways' purchase of a stake in Darwin Airline, concluding a deal that was first announced more than a year ago, the airline rebranding as Etihad Regional.

Etihad has a policy taking stakes in regional airlines to boost traffic through its Abu Dhabi hub.  It agreed to buy a 33.3% interest in Darwin at the start of 2014.

"This partnership will provide us the financial stability for the long-term growth of our company, dispelling any market uncertainty," said Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive of Darwin.

BAZL noted in a statement that it had approved the deal following the adoption of a new business model which reduces the dependence of Darwin vis-a-vis Etihad.  In addition to its own flights, Darwin will operate flights on behalf of Alitalia and Air Berlin in Europe.

In a recent speech (see James Hogan at the Aviation Club in this issue) Mr Hogan said that Etihad would probably, and profitably, sell its small stake in Aer Lingus if that airline’s deal with IAG were to go through.  www.etihad.com

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