Air Berlin looks set to refit selected A330 aircraft with Etihad’s business class seating, following the Gulf airline’s increased shareholding in the German carrier last year.
When Business Traveller was given a tour of one of Air Berlin’s A330 aircraft at the carrier’s Oneworld inauguration event earlier this week (click here for more details), a spokesperson confirmed that the current angled lie-flat seating would be replaced with Etihad’s fully-flat offering on the Berlin-Abu Dhabi route later this year.
When pressed for further details today, the carrier said that “We [have] just started to build a task force to discuss further steps regarding Etihad’s business class seating on Air Berlin’s A330-200 aircraft.”
Etihad Airways increased its shareholding in Air Berlin to 29 per cent in December last year (see online news December 19, 2011), and recently announced that the two carriers would be integrating their Boeing Dreamliner programmes in order to “share infrastructure, pool maintenance, develop joint training programs, and streamline purchasing activity for engines, rotables, avionics and inflight entertainment systems, as well as work jointly on product development for the new aircraft type” (see online news March 13 for more information)
Air Berlin launched four times-weekly flights between Berlin and Abu Dhabi in January (see online news January 16), adding to existing Etihad services from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich, with reciprocal codeshares on all of these routes.
Report by Mark Caswell