Etihad in talks to create European leisure airline

Etihad in talks to create European leisure airline
Airberlin's touristic business will be added to the new airline group.

abu dhabi - Airline will merge airberlin's touristic operations with a TUI subsidiary

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2016, 7:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Oct 2016, 9:37 PM

The Etihad Aviation Group and holiday giant TUI confirmed they are in discussions to create a European leisure airline group, focused on point-to-point flying to connect key tourist markets.

It is proposed to contribute the touristic operations of the airberlin group and TUIfly (TUI's German aviation arm), including the aircraft currently operated by TUIfly for airberlin under a wet-lease agreement, into a new airline group. This new airline group will serve a broad network of destinations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Etihad Airways said.

The leisure airline group will be supported by the expertise of Etihad Aviation Group and utilise TUI's distribution capacity.

TUI, Etihad Aviation Group and airberlin intend to finalise an in-principle agreement in due course. Any agreement will be subject to corporate and regulatory approvals.

TUIfly is part of TUI Group, with around 75,000 employees serving 30 million customers a year. The tourism group has a portfolio of more than 300 hotels, 14 cruise liners, six European airlines with around 140 aircraft and a distribution network covering more than 1,800 travel agencies and online portals.

Etihad Aviation Group is a diversified aviation and travel group, with more than 26,000 employees. It comprises four business divisions - Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Engineering, the Hala Group, its destination management company, and the Airline Equity Partners. Etihad Aviation Group holds minority stakes in airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia.

Airberlin is the second-largest airline in Germany and carried more than 30.2 million passengers in 2015. Airberlin offers a global route network through its partnership with Etihad Airways, which has a 29.21 per cent shareholding, and through membership of the oneworld airline alliance.


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