Air Berlin PLC

EANS-News: Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG
Etihad Airways becomes biggest single shareholder in airberlin

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Capital measures/Strategic co-operation - shareholding

Subtitle: - Etihad Airways to increase stake in airberlin to 29 per cent as part
of a wide ranging strategic partnership
- Combined network of 239 destinations
- airberlin to launch Berlin-Abu Dhabi flights
- Etihad Airways to provide five-year financing facilities of up to US$ 255
million to support fleet development and future network growth

London/Berlin (euro adhoc) - Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United
Arab Emirates, has agreed to increase its stake in airberlin, Europe´s sixth
largest airline, to 29.21 per cent, becoming airberlin´s largest single
shareholder.

The strategic move, announced today in Berlin by Etihad Airways Chief Executive
Officer James Hogan and airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, connects the airlines´
extensive networks and frequent flyer programs to offer travellers 239
destinations across 77 countries.

Hartmut Mehdorn said: "The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up
enormous opportunities for the future of our company."

"This applies especially to future market development and the realization of
synergies."

"One of the key components of the new partnership is the launch of airberlin
services to Abu Dhabi, which will become our new gateway to Asia and Australia."

"The agreement with Etihad Airways will also dramatically improve the global
connectivity of our customers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and throughout
the GCC and Middle East."

James Hogan said the deal was one of the most important in Etihad Airways´
history. 

"This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million
new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth.
Through airberlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary
European market, with outstanding connectivity options for customers of both
airlines."

"Our partnership strategy has been integral to our success over the past eight
years, and the returns we have seen from this strategy have confirmed its
value."

"We are always looking for ways to grow and partnerships are a smart way to
enhance our ability to compete on the world stage."

"We now have a portfolio of 34 quality airline partners, but this is our first
equity investment in another airline. It is a sign of our confidence in
airberlin´s management and in the carrier´s potential to grow with us."

"We expect such growth will also offer a host of additional employment
opportunities, both in Europe and the United Arab Emirates," Mr. Hogan said.

"Etihad Airways and the airberlin group carry a combined total of more than 
40 million passengers a year, operate 233 aircraft, and employ 18,000 people.
Together, the companies generate more than US$ 9 billion in revenues."

"We estimate each airline could achieve incremental revenues of between EUR 35
million and EUR 40 million just in the first year, and we believe the
partnership has enormous potential to unlock a range of efficiencies."

Under the partnership:

- airberlin will shift its Middle East operation from Dubai to Abu Dhabi;
- airberlin will operate four A330-200 flights a week between Berlin and Abu
Dhabi from January 15, 2012 - with European travellers having immediate access
to a total of 29 flights a week to and through Abu Dhabi from four German hubs,
with a plan to increase to 42 flights from mid-April;
- the airlines will implement an extensive codeshare agreement, with Etihad
Airways codesharing on 36 of airberlin´s 171 destinations and airberlin
codesharing on 24 of Etihad Airways´ 82 passenger destinations, and plan further
expansion of the pool of codeshare routes;
- Etihad Airways will sign codeshare agreements with the airberlin group for all
European activities including NIKI, the Austrian airline, and Belair, the Swiss
airline; and
- Etihad Guest and topbonus, the airlines´ frequent flyer programs, will be
integrated, enabling passengers of both airlines to `earn and burn´ on each
other´s flights and offering reciprocal benefits - including status earning - to
top tier members.

Under the agreement, Etihad Airways will have two seats on the Board of
Directors of the Air Berlin PLC.

The two companies will seek anti-trust immunity, which would allow greater
coordination of route networks and of sales and marketing activities.
airberlin and Etihad Airways are committed to creating a joint procurement
taskforce to look for cost efficiencies across the two companies, including
areas such as fleet procurement and deployment, maintenance, repair and overhaul
(MRO) and general procurement.

Etihad Airways´ minority stake will consist of 27.03 per cent from a new share
issue by airberlin, funded from operational cash flow, and an existing interest
of 2.99 per cent (pre-dilution), which will amount to a total interest of 29.21
per cent. The new shares will be issued at a price of EUR 2.31.


Further inquiry note:
Uwe Berlinghoff 				
Senior Vice President Communications airberlin	
phone:  +49 30 3434 1500 			
e-mail: abpresse@airberlin.com

end of announcement                               euro adhoc 
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company:     Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG
             The Hour House, High Street 32
             UK-WD3 1ER Rickmansworth, Herts
phone:       +49 (0)30 3434 1500
FAX:         +49 (0)30/3434-1509
mail:     abpresse@airberlin.com
WWW:      http://www.airberlin.com
sector:      Air Transport
ISIN:        GB00B128C026
indexes:     SDAX, Classic All Share, Prime All Share
stockmarkets: regulated dealing/prime standard: Frankfurt, free trade: Berlin,
             Hamburg, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, München 
language:   English
 



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