x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Airberlin to launch second daily flight between Berlin and Abu Dhabi

Passenger traffic is growing on the route, with Etihad owning a 29 per cent stake in the German carrier.

Airberlin will introduce a second daily flight between Berlin and Abu Dhabi, as passenger numbers between the two cities increase.

The German carrier, 29 per cent-owned by Etihad Airways, offers the only direct connection between Abu Dhabi and Berlin. The second flight will commence on October 26.

Etihad Airways and airberlin will also expand their codeshare agreement from the middle of this month to India, the companies said in a joint statement.

Airberlin passengers will be able to book flights to six Indian destinations served by Etihad. These are: New Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Subsequently, passengers in India can fly to airberlin routes in European in cities such as Copenhagen, Krakow, Stockholm and Warsaw.

“The partnership between Etihad Airways and airberlin continues to move from strength to strength, with 560,000 passengers flying across our two networks in 2013, a 74 per cent increase on the previous year,” said James Hogan, the president and chief executive of Etihad.

Besides airberlin, Etihad owns stakes in Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Air Serbia, Ireland’s Aer Lingus, India’s Jet Airways, and Etihad Regional — formally known as Darwin Airline.

Etihad is currently conducting the final stages of due diligence to acquire a stake in Alitalia, the troubled Italian carrier.

The Abu Dhabi carrier is also holding talks with Alitalia’s banks in Rome, Reuters reported yesterday.

The carrier’s aggressive growth plans include adding more than 30 routes by 2020.

This year Etihad will fly to 102 destinations. It is also expecting 20 aircraft deliveries, which will include 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A380s.

At November’s Dubai Airshow, Etihad announced 199 new orders from Boeing and Airbus.

Separately, Etihad Cargo and the logistics provider DHL agreed to share their capacity using a five times per week freighter operated by DHL.

The freighter will operate from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi then fly to Bagram, Lahore, and Karachi in Pakistan—then back to Abu Dhabi to connect with Etihad Cargo destinations worldwide.

selgazzar@thenational.ae