Major European Leisure Airline Group Now in the Works After Etihad Aviation Group Approves Joint Venture

Etihad Airways' First and Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
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Major European Leisure Airline Group Now in the Works After Etihad Aviation Group Approves Joint Venture

A New European leisure airline group will be formed in the very near future to improve connectivity in key European tourist markets. This development comes at the heels of Etihad Aviation Group’s (EAG) approval of a joint venture. The airline company will be working with TUI AG, and will involve a fleet of around 60 aircraft and over 15 million seats per year.

An Etihad Airways Airbus A380
An Etihad Airways Airbus A380

The new leisure airline group will feature point-to-point flying in order to better connect key European tourist markets. The move is still waiting to be approved by the aviation regulatory bodies as well as ant-trust authorities.

Included in the plan is for EAG’s subsidiary, Etihad Investment Holding Company LLC to take over 49.8 shares which is currently held by Air Berlin’s subsidiary airline. After this transaction is finished, Etihad will then convert the acquired shares to the new European leisure airline group.  TUI, on the other hand, will also contribute shares of its subsidiary TUI fly GmBH to the new joint venture. This will include a fleet of 14 aircraft which is currently being run by TUI fly for Air Berlin  in its current wet-lease contract.

Etihad Aviation Group
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge in Melbourne – Etihad Aviation Group

The move was approved by TUI AG’s Supervisory Board on November 23, 2016. Under the new agreement, TUI AG will have a 24.8 percent share in the new joint venture. Etihad, on the other hand, will have a 25 percent share. While these two partners seem to be on an equal-footing, the rest of the shares will be still be held by its current owner, the NIKI Privatstiftung.

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This new development promises to increase tourism and further expand the European tourism market. The leisure group will also be able to promote different luxury products from Europe, which will be made available to high-end shoppers during their stay in the featured countries.

It is said that the new leisure airline group will be headquartered in Vienna. This will be operational by April 2017, which is the official start of the summer season. The network will initially cover Hanover, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, Basel and Vienna.

Etihad Airways' First and Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Etihad Airways’ First and Business Class Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Apart from the countries, the the Balearics, Canaries, mainland Spain and Greece are also key markets. Etihad Aviation Group, the most advanced and rapidly growing aviation group in the world today is offering its expertise to the consortium. TUI Group, on the other hand, offers its expertise in the tourism industry.

The partnership will leverage synergies and improve systems for all parties concerned.

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