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...
Airport pairs: Western Europe-US shows the value of open skies as routes and new entry proliferate
For Western Europe there is no bigger long haul market than North America. In terms of the number of airport pairs between the countries of Western Europe and long haul destination countries, connectivity to the United States dominates. There are more direct routes between Western Europe and the US than there are between Western Europe and the whole of Asia Pacific.
This report presents high level data on the numbers of airport pairs between each Western European country and the US and how these number have changed. EU-US liberalisation in 2008 has stimulated growth in the number of direct connections, although the global economic downturn impeded this for a while. However, the additional routes have not been spread evenly across Western European countries.
Since 2010, additional route numbers from Western Europe to the US have been greatest from the largest markets – the UK and the US – and from the smaller countries, particularly Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Countries in between, including France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, have hardly added any new US routes at all.
Eurowings: new Munich routes outsourced to airberlin. Frankfurt hub may be next for Lufthansa's LCC
When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.