Etihad Regional launches in Zurich

16 Jan 2014 by GrahamSmith

Switzerland-based Etihad Regional was launched in Zurich today.

The new carrier, which will be operated by Darwin Airline, is headquartered in Lugano and has a major hub in Geneva.

The first aircraft to feature Etihad Regional's branding, a 50-seat Saab 2000, and new cabin interiors and crew uniforms were showcased at the launch event.

Etihad Regional's new livery is expected to be painted on all ten of its aircraft by the end of June.

Etihad Regional launch

Launch: Etihad and Darwin staff including James Hogan and Maurizio Merlo (both centre) show off Etihad Regional's new livery

James Hogan, president and CEO of Etihad Airways, said: "Etihad Regional will provide a unique opportunity to strengthen vitally important regional networks and connect them to the rapidly expanding global network of Etihad Airways.

"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, the Abu Dhabi carrier will acquire a one-third stake in the rebranded Darwin, making it the seventh member of Etihad's international alliance.

Etihad Regional currently offers year-round flights to 15 destinations in Europe using a fleet of ten Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft.

By mid-2014, this will more than double to 34 destinations. The new, non-stop routes will be to Stuttgart in February; Dusseldorf, London City, Berlin, Poznan, Wroclaw, Zurich, Toulouse, Tirana and Zagreb in April; Belgrade and Turin in May; and Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, Linz, Graz, Lyon and Verona in June.

With these additions, Etihad Regional's network will include seven European gateways served by Etihad Airways — Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris, Düsseldorf, Belgrade, Zurich (from June) and Rome (from July).

And, again subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on 16 routes operated by Darwin Airline — from Amsterdam and Paris to Cambridge; Dusseldorf to London City and Berlin; Geneva to Lugano, Cambridge, Rome, Stuttgart, Zurich, Valencia, Belgrade and Ibiza; Rome to Tirana and Geneva; and Berlin to Poznan and Wroclaw.

Maurizio Merlo, CEO of Darwin Airline, said: "We have built a solid position in regional markets across Europe and this partnership enables our customers to access the global network of destinations offered by Etihad while providing fresh options for overseas visitors to access Europe on our flights.

"This arrangement is new and exciting. It represents fresh thinking in our industry.",

Graham Smith

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