Airberlin has today (January 16) completed its inaugural flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, marking the start of a new four-weekly service and a codeshare agreement between the German airline and Etihad Airways.
The carrier will now operate four A330-200 flights a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday – non-stop from Berlin to Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, airberlin and Etihad will implement an extensive codeshare agreement, with the latter codesharing on 36 of airberlin’s 171 destinations and airberlin codesharing on 24 of Etihad Airways’ 82 passenger destinations.
Further expansion of the pool of codeshare routes is in the pipeline.
The move follows last month’s announcement that Etihad would become airberlin’s largest single shareholder, increasing its stake in the carrier to 29%.
The move will also result in airberlin relocating its Middle East operations from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and a five-year $255 million financial facility from Etihad to purchase new aircraft and promote future network growth.
On Sunday (January 15) evening, Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of airberlin, officially opened the new route between the German capital and Abu Dhabi.
Mehdorn said: “This strategic partnership with Etihad Airways not only opens up unique opportunities for the future for airberlin, it also brings a number of benefits for our passengers in terms of access to new routes, including our new all-year-round direct connection to Abu Dhabi.
“This flight is integrated into Etihad’s hub system in Abu Dhabi, so we are in a position to offer excellent connections, for example to Asia and Australia.”
Passengers coming from Abu Dhabi will also have access to a number of connecting flights operated by airberlin, both to destinations in Germany and also to Austria, Scandinavia and Switzerland, Mehdron added.
Etihad Airways CEO, James Hogan, said: “This flight marks a key milestone in our new partnership with airberlin.
“We are delighted, through this partnership, to link the capital cities of Germany – a hugely important market for Etihad Airways – and the United Arab Emirates.
“We are looking forward to strengthening our ties with airberlin as we work closely over the coming months to explore opportunities to bring the benefits of our partnership to our customers.”