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Swiss Darwin Airline to re-brand as Etihad Regional

November 21, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59In a move likely to confuse Northern Territory readers for a couple of seconds, Etihad Airways has bought a 33.3% stake in Darwin Airline. The airline is Swiss and has nothing to do with Darwin in Australia, except for the name – but the name will soon change to become Etihad Regional.

It’s an interesting move on the part of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates. Darwin Airline is just a minnow; it flies 50-seat SAAB 2000 turboprops, but Etihad, which will start flying to Zurich next June, sees it as a useful feeder. Etihad’s purchase of one-third of Darwin Airline was announced at the current Dubai Airshow. Darwin Airline

Etihad called the move a “step-change in global aviation” – the launch of its first branded regional operation.

“Following completion of the minority investment, which is subject to regulatory approval, Darwin Airline will rebrand its operations as Etihad Regional and align its network to connect passengers from secondary European markets onto the main networks of Etihad Airways and its equity alliance partners,” Etihad said in an issued release.

Etihad Airways will also launch daily services on 1 June 2014 from Abu Dhabi to Zurich, which will become one of Darwin Airline’s main operating hubs.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive 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.”

Hogan said the new approach could be extended to other markets over time.

“This new model is one that can bring the Etihad badge of quality to air travellers around the world,” he said.  “In just a decade, we have established the Etihad brand as one of the most recognised and most highly regarded in aviation.  This model offers a new direction for that brand in future.”

Darwin Airline is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with its major hub in Geneva. It currently offers scheduled flights to 21 destinations in Europe using a fleet of 10 50-seat Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft.

Subject to regulatory approvals, Etihad Airways will invest in Darwin Airline through the acquisition of 33.3% of an enlarged share capital. Darwin Airline, which will continue to focus on secondary markets, will become the seventh member of the Etihad Airways equity airline alliance, the fourth partner in Europe, and the first to operate using a new sub-brand called ‘Etihad Regional’.

The investment will give Etihad Airways access to regional markets in Europe, and enable a major expansion of Darwin Airline’s operations.

The new ‘Etihad Regional’ logo will be displayed prominently on each side of the fuselage of the Darwin Airline aircraft, while the rear of the plane will carry the words “Operated by Darwin Airline”, and the Darwin Airline’s present logo, as well as continuing to proudly display the Swiss flag. All flights will continue to be operated under the Darwin Airline designator code.

By mid-2014, Darwin Airline will add 21 new routes and 18 new destinations. Its network will then include six European gateways served by Etihad Airways – Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris, Düsseldorf, Belgrade and, commencing in June, Zurich.

Darwin Airline will be able to connect to the network of airberlin, Etihad Airways’ equity partner, through new and existing routes to Berlin, Düsseldorf and Zurich.

Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways, airberlin and Air Serbia will codeshare on Darwin Airline routes, while Darwin Airline will codeshare on Etihad Airways, airberlin and Air Serbia flights from a range of European gateways.

Etihad Airways’ minority shareholdings include 29% of airberlin, 40% of Air Seychelles, 19.9% of Virgin Australia and 3% of Aer Lingus. Etihad Airways has also received regulatory approval to acquire 24% of India’s Jet Airways, and from January 2014, will acquire 49% of Air Serbia.

NEW NONSTOP ROUTES TO BE INTRODUCED BY DARWIN AIRLINE

APRIL 2014:

•           Düsseldorf –  Cambridge

•           Düsseldorf – London City

•           Düsseldorf – Berlin

•           Berlin – Poznan

•           Berlin – Wroclaw

•           Zurich – Leipzig

•           Geneva – Toulouse

•           Rome – Tirana

•           Rome – Zagreb

MAY 2014:

•           Geneva – Belgrade

•           Geneva – Zurich

•           Zurich – Florence

•           Zurich – Turin

JUNE 2014:

•           Geneva – Bordeaux

•           Geneva – Marseille

•           Geneva – Nantes

•           Geneva – Verona

•           Zurich – Linz

•           Zurich – Graz

•           Zurich – Lyon

•           Zurich – Verona

Edited by : Peter Needham

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