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Etihad Launches Legal Assault to Protect Air Berlin Codeshare Agreements

L'Amministratore delegato di Etihad Airways, James Hogan, durante la conferenza stampa di presentazione del nuovo collegamento Abu-Dhabi - Roma, Roma 16 Luglio 2014.

Just days after losing a battle in a German courtroom, Etihad announced new legal action in hopes of preserving dozens of codeshare flights with partner Air Berlin.

Fresh off a defeat in which more than 30 codeshare flight agreements between Etihad Airways and Air Berlin were voided by an Administrative judge in Braunschweig, Germany, Etihad officials released a statement outlining a strategy to have that ruling overturned. Etihad, which owns a nearly 30 percent stake in the German carrier, promised a vigorous appeal of last week’s ruling.

“With Air Berlin, we are working to ensure that no traveler suffers as a result of this dispute, and all bookings will be honored,” Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan said in a statement announcing the renewed legal attack. “We will fight all the way to protect our investment, to protect our partnership with Air Berlin and to protect competitive choice in German air travel.”

The legal woes started after Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa urged regulators to rein in pacts between Air Berlin and it’s Gulf carrier partner. German regulators responded by giving the two airlines until January 15 to dissolve codeshare agreements on 31 flights. That decision was upheld by the judge’s ruling shortly before the new year. An additional 50 codeshare flights between the two airlines were unaffected by the administrative court decision.

The wording of Etihad’s statement served notice that the airline would be fighting an aggressive PR battle as well as mounting a vigorous legal defense. “We were encouraged to invest in Air Berlin. However, since that initial investment, we have faced a series of significant challenges, including the introduction of airport taxes, which have directly eroded Air Berlin’s profitability,” Hogan complained. ”In other markets, such as Australia, India, Italy, Serbia and the Seychelles, our investments have been welcomed and supported. Yet in Germany, our commitment continues to be undermined by the lobbying efforts and protectionist tactics of Lufthansa, the national airline.”

In addition to promising a firm commitment to exhausting all available legal remedies, Etihad’s CEO also offered a warning: “Etihad Airways is but one investor in one industry, but our experience will serve as a warning to others when it comes to making international investment decisions,” Hogan said in his statement. ”Make no mistake, protectionism will undoubtedly harm the investment landscape in Germany.”


Comments are Closed.
Sydneyberlin January 12, 2016

Welcome to Germany! Disgusting to see how the government there continues to support crappy Lufthansa which has always been a shitty airline and will probably always be. Give me Etihad above them any day!

weero January 7, 2016

I oddly agree - German courts should not be part of perpetuating this charade of the Lufthansa/Bundestags complex.