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Etihad launches appeal against German court ruling over Air Berlin codeshare

Abu Dhabi-based carrier owns 29.2 per cent stake in German airline

The UAE’s flag carrier, Etihad Airways, on January 4 filed an appeal against a German court’s ruling last week that barred it from jointly selling tickets for some routes operated by Air Berlin, the airline said in a statement.

“We will fight all the way to protect our investment, to protect our partnership with Air Berlin and to protect competitive choice in German air travel,” said James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways.

The Administrative Court of Braunschweig on December 30 said that Etihad could not operate the codeshare flights from January 16 until the end of the winter schedule in March next year as they were not supported by the air traffic rights agreement between the UAE and Germany.

After filing the appeal in a higher court in Lüneburg, Hogan said his company has faced many “significant challenges” after investing in Germany four years ago.

“As a global business, we focus our investments in markets will deliver long-term returns. We were encouraged to invest in Air Berlin. However, since that initial investment, we have faced a series of significant challenges, including the introduction of airport taxes, which have directly eroded Air Berlin’s profitability.”

The airline, which owns a 29.2 per cent stake in Air Berlin, said that the “investors need every reassurance that the integrity of their investments in Germany will be respected and protected” to retain their “reputation” as a safe country for investment.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad argued that its experience “will serve as a warning to others when it comes to making international investment decisions.”

“Make no mistake. Protectionism will undoubtedly harm the investment landscape in Germany,” it added.