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Etihad takes a stake in airberlin

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has announced its purchase of a stake in airberlin, a deal which brings to 269 the total number of destinations it serves, either directly or with partner airlines.

The announcement means Etihad Airways now offers guests a route network more than 80 destinations larger than that offered by any other Gulf carrier.

As part of its deal with airberlin, Etihad Airways will sign codeshare agreements with the airberlin group for all European activities including NIKI, the Austrian airline and Belair, the Swiss airline.

Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: “Today more than ever, it is vital to think differently in this industry. The number of codeshare partners Etihad Airways has, and the number of destinations it is now able to serve, is a point of marked differentiation.

“The Gulf is increasingly the centre of the world in terms of aviation, and we are happy that with one booking we are able, either directly or with codeshare partners, to allow our guests to take full advantage of this geography.

“We will continue to look to strike codeshare agreements with carriers around the world where we feel it is to the advantage of our guests.”

Arab Emirates began operations in 2003 and in 2010 carried more than seven million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, its serves 82 cities.