Etihad Regional has commenced a four times per week service from its hub in Geneva, Switzerland to Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany.
The inaugural flight F7260 was operated by Etihad Regional’s newly branded 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft, which was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute upon arrival at Stuttgart Airport.
Maurizio Merlo, chief executive officer of Darwin Airline, said: “We are proud to be the first airline to offer a direct air link between Geneva and Stuttgart.
“The new route is the first after the re-branding of Darwin Airline and the 16th year-round destination on our network.
“The new Stuttgart service extends our geographic presence in the German market. The move will create significant benefits for our business and leisure passengers, as well as strengthen the already strong trade and leisure ties between Switzerland and Germany.
“More importantly, the new service demonstrates our strategy to continue building a strong regional airline linking European cities and towns, which also connect to the global network of our partners, Etihad Airways, airberlin and Air Serbia.”
Welcoming the launch, Georg Fundel, chief executive, Stuttgart Airport, said: “We are delighted that Etihad Regional has commenced operations here, which will boost the regional economy, and offer the airline’s passengers a convenient new entry point to Germany through our modern and efficient facility.”
The new flights have been introduced to serve the point-to-point market as well as provide seamless connectivity beyond the Geneva hub to numerous key destinations across Europe, including Cambridge, Valencia, Rome, Lugano, Florence, Toulouse (commencing in April 2014), Belgrade and Zurich (commencing in May 2014), and Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes and Verona (commencing in June 2014).
The flights will also offer travellers a great opportunity to connect on Etihad Airways, the UAE national carrier’s services from Geneva to Abu Dhabi. Flights from Abu Dhabi, offered by Etihad Airways and its equity partners, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia also connect well with destinations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Asia and Australia.
With the new addition, Etihad Regional now offers year-round flights to 16 destinations in Europe using a fleet of ten Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft.
By mid-2014, this will more than double to 34 destinations.
The summer schedule will include destinations such as Biarritz in France, the Spanish island of Ibiza and Cagliari in Sardinia.