Etihad Aviation Group to launch new airline in Europe

The Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) today said that its board has approved plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG, with a fleet of around 60 aircraft, offering 15 million seats capacity per year, focused on point-to-point flying to connect key European tourist markets. The new leisure airline group, headquartered in Vienna, is scheduled to begin operations in April 2017, the start of the summer season, serving a broad network of destinations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Hanover, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, Basel and Vienna). "Key markets will include the Balearics, Canaries, mainland Spain and Greece," the release said. The planned transaction includes an agreement for EAG's subsidiary Etihad Investment Holding Company LLC (Etihad) to acquire the 49.8 per cent share indirectly held by air berlin in its subsidiary airline NIKI Luftfahrt GmbH, the release added. "At closing of the transaction, Etihad will immediately contribute the share in NIKI to the new European leisure airline group and will not effectively control, or become a majority owner of NIKI. TUI will contribute its subsidiary TUIfly GmbH to the joint venture, including the 14 aircraft currently operated by TUIfly for airberlin under a wet-lease agreement," added the release. TUI AG will hold 24.8 per cent of shares in the joint venture company, with Etihad holding a 25 per cent stake. The remaining 50.2 per cent will continue to be held by the existing private foundation NIKI Privatstiftung. Courtesy: The Economic Times

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