23 Oct 2015 09:00
Etihad Airways, the National Airline of the United Arab Emirates, today welcomed the ruling by the Administrative Court of Braunschweig allowing it to continue operating all its codeshare flights with airberlin to destinations in Europe, the US and the UAE.
The injunction, which is valid until 8
November, provides an opportunity for the parties to resolve outstanding
differences through ongoing consultation between the Governments of the United
Arab Emirates and the Federal Republic of Germany. Etihad Airways as well as
airberlin will continue to honour all flights and passenger travel arrangements
will remain entirely unaffected.
applied for the injunction to help protect the German carrier’s 8,000 employees
and provide the passengers who have booked more than 82,000 journeys with
clarity and confidence.
The airline was forced to launch this
legal action as Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital
Infrastructure had still not approved Etihad Airways codesharing on the
airberlin services during the IATA Winter 2015/2016 schedule, which begins in
just two days’ time on 25 October 2015.
Etihad Airways President and Chief
Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “The failure by the German Government to
approve the codeshares in time, would severely, and possibly terminally, damage
airberlin, Germany’s second-largest airline, of which Etihad Airways owns 29.2
per cent. The codeshare routes in question, including flights to our hub in Abu
Dhabi, were among 65 previously approved by Germany’s civil aviation authority,
the LBA, and a key reason that we invested in airberlin.
“Since 2012, our codeshare partnership
has enabled more than two million passengers to connect between the networks of
both airlines, and contributed 252 million euros to airberlin’s earnings.
Etihad Airways has delivered 1,365,487 passengers to airberlin, while airberlin
connected 645,157 passengers onto flights operated by Etihad Airways.”
Since 2012, the LBA and the Ministry of
Transport have approved seven Etihad Airways schedules, including all of the
codeshares with airberlin, on the basis of the Air Services Agreement signed by
the UAE and Germany in March 1994 and the Agreed Minutes and Revised Route
Schedule signed in June 2000.
A dispute arose in August 2014 because
of a unilateral change of opinion by the Ministry of Transport, concerning the
codeshare provisions of those bilateral agreements.
Mr Hogan said: “In addition to the
damage it would cause to airberlin, the withdrawal of approval for codeshare
services on 29 routes would critically reduce consumer choice within and beyond
Germany, and cause massive inconvenience to passengers, including during the
peak Christmas and New Year travel periods. More than 82,000 journeys have been
booked on these flights during the next six months.
“The social and economic damage to
Germany by this decision would be even greater. By suddenly disallowing
established and legitimate codeshare flights, the Government will endanger the
jobs of 8,000 people directly employed by airberlin, and many more jobs
provided by the airline’s suppliers and business partners in affected
Mr Hogan said Germany’s economic links
to many countries would also be seriously damaged if Etihad Airways was forced
to end the codeshare agreements with airberlin.
“Connectivity will be lost or
diminished to a range of destinations throughout the Middle East, Indian sub-continent,
Asia and Australia, as these codeshare flights are directly linked to Etihad
Airways’ services beyond Abu Dhabi,” Mr Hogan said.
“Business people, tourists and families
travelling between these destinations and Germany will be faced with less
choice and higher costs,” he said.