Etihad Airways has welcomed the ruling by the Administrative Court of Braunschweig allowing it to continue operating all its codeshare flights with airberlin to destinations in Europe, the US and the UAE.
The injunction, which is valid until November 8th, provides an opportunity for the parties to resolve outstanding differences through on going consultation between the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Germany.
Etihad as well as airberlin will continue to honour all flights and passenger travel arrangements will remain entirely unaffected.
Etihad Airways applied for the injunction to help protect the German carrier’s 8,000 employees and provide the passengers who have booked more than 82,000 journeys with clarity and confidence.
The airline decided to launch this legal action as Germany’s federal ministry of transport had still not approved or rejected Etihad Airways codesharing on the airberlin services during the IATA Winter 2015/2016 schedule, which begins in just two days’ time on October 25th, 2015.
Etihad Airways president James Hogan, said: “The failure by the German Government to approve the codeshares in time, would severely, and possibly terminally, damage airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, of which Etihad Airways owns 29.2 per cent.
“The codeshare routes in question, including flights to our hub in Abu Dhabi, were among 65 previously approved by Germany’s civil aviation authority, the LBA, and a key reason that we invested in airberlin.”
Since 2012, the LBA and the ministry of transport have approved seven Etihad Airways schedules, including all of the codeshares with airberlin, on the basis of the Air Services Agreement signed by the UAE and Germany in March 1994 and the Agreed Minutes and Revised Route Schedule signed in June 2000.
A dispute arose in August 2014 because of a unilateral change of opinion by the ministry of transport, concerning the codeshare provisions of those bilateral agreements.
Hogan said: “In addition to the damage it would cause to airberlin, the withdrawal of approval for codeshare services on 29 routes would critically reduce consumer choice within and beyond Germany, and cause massive inconvenience to passengers, including during the peak Christmas and New Year travel periods.
“More than 82,000 journeys have been booked on these flights during the next six months.
“The social and economic damage to Germany by this decision would be even greater. By suddenly disallowing established and legitimate codeshare flights, the government will endanger the jobs of 8,000 people directly employed by airberlin, and many more jobs provided by the airline’s suppliers and business partners in affected destinations.”