Established in partnership with UAE national carrier, Etihad Airways, the new carrier will be operated by Switzerland’s Darwin Airline, which is headquartered in Lugano with a major hub in Geneva.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, explained that the strategy behind Etihad Regional was to build strong regional airline partnerships around the world.
“We will choose partners, as we have done with Darwin Airline, which share our passion for delivering an outstanding service to travellers, with greater choice and more convenience.”
Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will acquire a 33.3 per cent stake in Darwin Airline as part of its equity airline alliance strategy. Darwin Airline will become the seventh member of the international alliance and Etihad Airways’ fourth partner in Europe.
Maurizio Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of Darwin Airline, said, “What makes Etihad Regional unique is the way Etihad Airways and its equity alliance partners, in particular airberlin and Air Serbia, can also feed passengers into the regional network. We expect that as Etihad Regional expands, it will be able to offer more direct employment locally, and further indirect employment opportunities in connecting regional markets.”
Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline, currently offers year round flights to 15 destinations in Europe using a fleet of 10 Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft. By mid-2014, this will more than double to 34 destinations. With these additions, Etihad Regional’s network will include seven European gateways served by Etihad Airways: Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris, Düsseldorf, Belgrade, Zurich (commencing in June 2014) and Rome (commencing in July 2014).
Etihad Regional network will connect with airberlin in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Zurich, providing onward connectivity to destinations in Europe and North America