Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and airberlin, Europe’s sixth biggest carrier, today announced a significant increase in services between Abu Dhabi and both Germany and Thailand.
This follows December’s historic announcement that Etihad Airways had become airberlin’s largest single shareholder, and airberlin’s commencement of a four-per-week service between Berlin and Abu Dhabi on January 15.
From March 25, airberlin will operate three daily services to Abu Dhabi, including direct daily flights from two German hubs – Berlin and Düsseldorf – to the UAE capital. In addition and subject to government approval, airberlin will launch a new route between Abu Dhabi and Phuket, offering a daily year-round service to the popular island destination in Thailand. All of airberlin’s new flights will be operated by a by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration.
airberlin’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–Düsseldorf service will increase to a daily frequency, providing a combined double daily offering with maximum connectivity over Etihad Airways’ and airberlin’s major hubs. Etihad Airways’ Düsseldorf service will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a three-class configuration.
In addition, Etihad Airways will launch a third daily Abu Dhabi-Bangkok service from April 15 with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a two-class configuration. 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 airberlin partnership.
Etihad Airways will place its EY flight designator on all of airberlin’s new services, and the recent integration of the Etihad Guest and topbonus frequent flyer programs will allow passengers of both airlines to ‘earn and burn’ points across each carrier’s flights.
Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “Our strategic partnership with airberlin continues to gain momentum, and we are delighted to announce such a major increase in services from our respective hubs.
Etihad Airways and airberlin will now offer a combined 42 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany from a total of four German hubs. In addition, the commencement of the first daily non-stop flight from the Middle East to Phuket is an exciting development for leisure travellers across the Middle East and Europe, and highlights Abu Dhabi’s strategic location as a major gateway to Asia.
“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,” Mr Hogan said.
airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said: “By adding new daily connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to Abu Dhabi, we are reinforcing our hubs and strengthening our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways.
“Flight guests who fly airberlin can now take daily trips to the Thai holiday island of Phuket, and our business guests will benefit from more frequent flights to Bangkok.”
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.