Etihad Airways acquired (17-Nov-2013) a 33.3% stake in Darwin Airline, subject to regulatory approval. Following completion of the investment, Darwin Airline will rebrand as Etihad Regional and align its network to connect passengers from secondary European markets to the main networks of Etihad Airways and its equity alliance partners. Darwin Airline will commence 21 new routes and add 18 new destinations by mid 2014, including Amsterdam, Belgrade, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Paris and Zurich. Etihad Airways plans to commence daily Abu Dhabi-Zurich service with three-class A330-300 equipment, effective 01-Jun-2014 - see Route Changes Table for more information. airberlin will codeshare on the route. Zurich will serve as one of Darwin Airline's main operating hubs and it will provide connections to Geneva, Leipzig, Florence, Graz, Linz, Lyon, Turin and Verona. Etihad Airways president and CEO James Hogan said, "This is a step-change for Etihad Airways. With our new partner Darwin Airline, we are creating a unique approach to network development for global airlines. European travellers will now be able to connect from a far, far wider range of European towns and cities on Etihad-branded aircraft, through Abu Dhabi to our destinations worldwide. We are also linking the new Etihad Regional network into the key hubs of our equity alliance partners, bringing benefits to the customers of airberlin and Air Serbia. This is not just a great new offer for European travellers. It is also great news for Darwin Airline, which will see increased investment, greater sales and marketing opportunities, and the chance to benefit from Etihad Airways’ global network." Darwin Airline CEO Maurizio Merlo said, "We have built a solid position in regional markets across Europe and through this partnership we can add another major dimension, enabling our customers to access the global network of destinations offered by Etihad Airways, while providing fresh options for overseas visitors to travel through Europe on our flights." [more - original PR - Etihad Airways] [more - original PR - Etihad Airways 2] [more - original PR - Darwin Airline] [more - original PR - Darwin Airline 2] [more - original PR - Cambridge Airport] [more - original PR - French]
Etihad Airways acquires stake in Darwin Airline, to rebrand as Etihad Regional
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Air Serbia's 2015 profit another step in Etihad-inspired transformation. Wizz Air a possible threat
Air Serbia's transformation from the loss-making carrier Jat Airways in 2013 to one with the possibility of sustainable levels of profitability took another step forward in 2015, with another positive result. After receiving investment from Etihad and the Serbian government in 2H2013, it had recovered from heavy losses to a small profit in 2014. This was based on an impressive reduction in unit cost, with a realignment of the network and its commercial positioning.
In 2015 Air Serbia again increased its net profit, although this remained slim at only 1% of revenue. Buoyed by its success in establishing a track record of positive results, Air Serbia is growing its European network. Perhaps more significantly, it is also launching its first long haul route, Belgrade-New York, this summer.
Its unit cost is efficient versus legacy airlines and not very much higher than LCCs such as easyJet. It has the good fortune to face only a relatively small amount of competition from LCCs (it only has competition from any other airline on a minority of its routes). However, the ultra-LCC Wizz Air, which has a much lower unit cost than Air Serbia, is its leading LCC competitor and could provide a greater threat over time.
Airberlin: airline's latest, more radical, restructuring gets help from TUIFly and Lufthansa
Airberlin's operations are to be split into three. First, there will be a core network airline with hubs in Berlin and Duesseldorf, deploying approximately half the current Air Berlin Group fleet. Second, there are plans for a new leisure airline, combining part of airberlin's fleet with TUIFly. Third, a significant part of airberlin's fleet will be wet-leased to the Lufthansa Group.
As a result of these moves the operating fleet of the core airberlin network airline will slip from second to third in Germany and risks becoming subscale. Eurowings will rise from third to second, and the expanded new TUIFly will go from fifth to fourth (overtaking Thomas Cook Group's Condor).
For several years airberlin has been unable to break the cycle of losses and successive restructuring initiatives, in spite of repeated bailouts from airberlin's 29% shareholder Etihad. A number of details are still to be clarified. These include the detailed route networks for the different operators, the network airline's strategy for feed, and the balance of charter versus scheduled flights in the new leisure airline. However, for now and with help from competitors and Etihad, airberlin looks to have ensured at least some kind of future.