Etihad bid for Darwin stake given green light

Etihad bid for Darwin stake given green light

Aviation regulators have given the green light to Etihad Airways’ bid for a stake in Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline after a wait of more than a year.

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation approved the UAE airline’s 33.3% investment in Lugano-based Darwin Airline.

The carrier has been operating as Etihad Regional under a brand and partnership agreement with Etihad Airways since January 2014.

Formal approval of the investment enables the two airlines to codeshare on each other’s flights within and beyond Europe in addition to other benefits.

But Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan voiced disappointment that some opportunities had been diminished or lost because of the length of the regulatory review process.

This prevented the introduction of codeshare services designed to link and strengthen the networks of the two airlines.

“Because of the time taken to approve this partnership, and intense competition during this period, Etihad Regional has been forced to reduce or withdraw services on a number of routes, which were launched on the expectation that they would be supported by traffic flowing between the Etihad Airways global network and the Etihad Regional network in Europe,” said Hogan.

“Once formalities are completed to activate the investment, Etihad Regional will have much greater connectivity, not only with Etihad Airways but also with its other partners in Europe, including Alitalia, Air Berlin and Air Serbia.”

The investment was in line with a growing trend of consolidation in the airline industry, to ensure the continuation of viable, reliable and stable air services, and to maximise flight connectivity, added Hogan.


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