Etihad Aviation Group and TUI AG have confirmed they are in discussions to create a strong European leisure airline group, focused on point-to-point flying to connect key tourist markets, the company said.
The companies propose to contribute the touristic operations of the airberlin group and the German TUIfly company, including the aircraft currently operated by TUIfly for airberlin under a wet-lease agreement, into a new airline group established by TUI AG and Etihad Aviation Group. This new airline group would serve a broad network of destinations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The leisure airline group would be supported by Etihad Aviation Group and utilize TUI´s state-of-the-art distribution capacity.
TUI AG, Etihad Aviation Group and Air Berlin PLC said they intend to finalize an in-principle agreement in due course. Any agreement entered into will be subject to all necessary corporate and regulatory approvals.
TUIfly is part of TUI Group, a tourism business, with around 75,000 employees serving 30 million customers a year, across the globe. TUI Group has a portfolio of more than 300 hotels, 14 cruise liners, six European airlines with 140 aircraft and a distribution network, covering more than 1,800 travel agencies and online portals.
Etihad Aviation Group is a diversified aviation and travel group, with more than 26,000 employees. It comprises four business divisions: Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Engineering, the Hala Group and the Airline Equity Partners. Etihad Aviation Group holds minority stakes in Air Berlin PLC, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia.
airberlin is a German airline that carried more than 30.2 million passengers in 2015. airberlin offers a global route network through its strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which has a 29.21 per cent shareholding in airberlin.