By Andy Sambidge
Extra flights to operate following Etihad Airways' deal to raise stake in Air Berlin
Etihad Airways and Air Berlin, Europe's sixth biggest carrier, on Wednesday announced a significant increase in services between Abu Dhabi and both Germany and Thailand.
This follows Etihad's move in December to become Air Berlin's largest single shareholder, and the German carrier starting a four-per-week service between Berlin and Abu Dhabi on January 15.
From March 25, Air Berlin will operate three daily services to Abu Dhabi, including direct daily flights from two German hubs - Berlin and Dusseldorf, the airlines said in a statement.
Subject to government approval, Air Berlin will also launch a new route between Abu Dhabi and Phuket, offering a daily year-round service to the popular island destination in Thailand, the statement added.
Air Berlin's expanded schedule to Abu Dhabi will also be complemented by Etihad Airways' own capacity increases to Germany and Thailand.
From April 15, Etihad Airways' Abu Dhabi-Dusseldorf service will increase to a daily frequency while Etihad will also launch a third daily Abu Dhabi-Bangkok service from April 15.
"The expansion of Etihad Airways' Bangkok flying will cater to growing demand on the route, and the significant increase in volumes expected as a result of the Air Berlin partnership," the statement said.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways president and CEO, said: "Our strategic partnership with Air Berlin continues to gain momentum, and we are delighted to announce such a major increase in services from our respective hubs."
Etihad Airways and Air Berlin will offer a combined 42 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany from a total of four German hubs.
"It all adds up to a game changing proposition for travellers in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and across the rest of our combined global network," Hogan said.
Air Berlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn added: "By adding new daily connections from Berlin and Dusseldorf to Abu Dhabi, we are reinforcing our hubs and strengthening our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways."For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.