Etihad Airways has increased its stake in Air Berlin to 29.2% for 72.9 million euros.
The deal brings to 269 the total number of destinations served by the UAE carrier, either directly or with partner airlines. Etihad previously held less than 3% of the German airline.
Air Berlin said that anticipated synergies from the deal will increase revenue by 35 million euros to 45 million euros next year.
Air Berlin is cutting capacity by more than one million seats as it attempts to trim 200 million euros in costs. The company reported last month that third-quarter net profits fell 78% to 30.2 million euros as fuel costs rose and Germany’s aviation tax narrowed margins.
The agreement means Etihad now offers a route network covering more than 80 destinations larger than that offered by any other Gulf carrier.
Etihad will sign codeshare agreements with the Air Berlin group for all European activities including Austrian airline NIKI and Swiss carrier Belair.
CEO James Hogan said: “Today more than ever, it is vital to think differently in this industry. The number of codeshare partners Etihad Airways has, and the number of destinations it is now able to serve, is a point of marked differentiation.
“The Gulf is increasingly the centre of the world in terms of aviation, and we are happy that with one booking we are able, either directly or with codeshare partners, to allow our guests to take full advantage of this geography.
“We will continue to look to strike codeshare agreements with carriers around the world where we feel it is to the advantage of our guests.”
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