Etihad Airways has launched an appeal against the decision by a German court to revoke the approval for 29 of its codeshare flights with Air Berlin.
December’s court ruling (click here for more details) declared that the German Ministry of Transport had been entitled to reject 29 codeshare services between Etihad Airways and Air Berlin, which had only been approved until January 15 this year.
Etihad owns a 29.2 per cent stake in Air Berlin, and had agreed codeshare services on a total of 63 routes – the remaining codeshare agreements have not been affected by the ruling.
The Gulf carrier has lodged an appeal against the decision, with president and CEO James Hogan stating that the Etihad “will fight all the way to protect our investment, to protect our partnership with airberlin and to protect competitive choice in German air travel”.
Hogan said that the codeshare services had “operated for years without any concerns being raised as they are pro-competitive and increase consumer choice”, but that “after four years of investing in Germany, supporting Air Berlin jobs as well as creating our own new employment in Germany, we find the rules have changed”.
Hogan said that Etihad’s commitment in Germany “continues to be undermined by the lobbying efforts and protectionist tactics of Lufthansa, the national airline”, and added that “Unless the German government can show its commitment to support all German companies and German jobs, its reputation as a safe country in which to invest is at stake”.
“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,” said Hogan.
“Make no mistake. Protectionism will undoubtedly harm the investment landscape in Germany.”
Hogan said that the carrier was working to ensure that no traveller would suffer as a result of the dispute, and said that all bookings would be honoured.