Etihad-linked airline back in black in 2012

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German carrier Air Berlin has posted a 2012 net profit of €6.8 million ($9m) compared to a €420.4 million loss in the previous year.

Germany's second-largest airline said it gained €184.4 million from the sale of its 70 percent stake in the frequent flyer programme 'topbonus' to Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad.

This resulted in 2012 earnings before interest and taxes of €70.2 million, compared with a €247 million operating loss in 2011.

Germany's number two airline after Lufthansa, which has not made an operating profit since 2007, said in December the deal to carve out the 'topbonus' programme would generate revenue of €184.4m.

The move comes a year after Abu Dhabi-based Etihad bought about 29 percent of Air Berlin and agreed to grant the German carrier up to $255m in loans.

Air Berlin is facing a number of challenges, particularly the impact of ongoing delays at Berlin's new airport.

The Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport, which is being built at a cost of $3.2bn, has already been delayed twice and the opening has now been pushed back until at least March 2013.

The government-backed airport was to replace Berlin’s three existing airports and was to be the main hub for Air Berlin.

Air Berlin said it will publish detailed results on March 20.

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