Etihad Airways has confirmed it will increase its stake in airberlin to 29.21 per cent, becoming the largest single shareholder in the carrier.
The strategic move, announced in Berlin by Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan and airberlin chief Hartmut Mehdorn, connects the airlines’ extensive networks and frequent flyer programs to offer travellers 239 destinations across 77 countries.
Hartmut Mehdorn said: “The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company.
“This applies especially to future market development and the realisation of synergies.
One of the key components of the new partnership is the launch of airberlin services to Abu Dhabi, which will become our new gateway to Asia and Australia.
“The agreement with Etihad Airways will also dramatically improve the global connectivity of our customers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and throughout the GCC and Middle East,” added Mehdorn.
airberlin chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn, right, with Etihad Airways chief James Hogan earlier today in Berlin
James Hogan said the deal was one of the most important in Etihad Airways’ history.
“This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth,” he enthused.
“Through airberlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary European market, with outstanding connectivity options for customers of both airlines.
“Our partnership strategy has been integral to our success over the past eight years, and the returns we have seen from this strategy have confirmed its value.
“We are always looking for ways to grow and partnerships are a smart way to enhance our ability to compete on the world stage.”
Etihad Airways and the airberlin group carry a combined total of more than
40 million passengers a year, operate 233 aircraft, and employ 18,000 people.
Together, the companies generate more than US$9 billion in revenues.
Under the Partnership
The airlines will implement an extensive codeshare agreement, with Etihad Airways code sharing on 36 of airberlin’s 171 destinations and airberlin code sharing on 24 of Etihad Airways’ 82 passenger destinations.
Etihad Airways will sign codeshare agreements with the airberlin group for all European activities including NIKI, the Austrian airline, and Belair, the Swiss airline.
The two companies will seek anti-trust immunity, which would allow greater coordination of route networks and of sales and marketing activities.
Etihad Airways’ minority stake will consist of 27.03 per cent from a new share issue by airberlin, funded from operational cash flow, and an existing interest of 2.99 per cent (pre-dilution), which will amount to a total interest of 29.21 per cent.
The new shares will be issued at a price of EUR 2.31.
Etihad Airways is considered the World’s Leading Airline by the prestigious World Travel Awards.