German and Austrian regulatory authorities have given their approval to the deal announced last month in which Etihad Airways increased its shareholding in airberlin to 29.21 per cent.
The approved strategic partnership between the airlines will offer passengers a combined global network of 239 destinations, seamlessly connected through hubs in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Vienna and Palma de Majorca.
Already, both airlines have announced a number of joint actions, including codesharing on a number of routes on each other’s networks, integrating aspects of their frequent flyer programs, and mutual maintenance agreements in Abu Dhabi and Düsseldorf.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “We are delighted that all the regulatory approvals have been concluded successfully and we can now to move forward with plans to create an outstanding offering for passengers on our combined network.
“The partnership between Etihad Airways and airberlin will have a positive market impact, stimulating competition and ultimately benefiting passengers across the globe.
“It is a significant milestone in our history and the first step in what will be a very positive association over the coming years.”
airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said: “I am confident that this is the beginning of a very successful collaboration which will benefit the customers of both companies. It opens up unique possibilities for joint future market development and provides the prerequisite for increased synergies and cost optimisations.”
Etihad Airways and airberlin group carry a combined total of more than 40 million passengers a year, operate 233 aircraft and employ 18,000 people.