airberlin Adds Second Daily Frequency on Berlin - Abu Dhabi Route

Germany’s second largest airline, airberlin, will introduce a second daily rotation between Berlin and Abu Dhabi from October 26, 2014, building on its successful partnership with equity and codeshare partner Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates.  With the revised schedule, airberlin will offer 8,344 seats each week between the two capital cities.

airberlin launched operations between Berlin and Abu Dhabi in January 2012 after Etihad Airways increased its stake in the German airline to 29.21 per cent the previous year, becoming the biggest individual shareholder in the carrier in the process.  It had previously served Dubai International Airport in the UAE but relocated its operations to develop enhanced synergies with its shareholder and remains the sole carrier to serve the Berlin – Abu Dhabi route.

As a result of the increased frequency, airberlin and Etihad Airways will operate a total of 56 flights per week between Germany and the UAE, including double-daily connections from Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich.  The new rotation between Berlin and Abu Dhabi will also be operated using an Airbus A330-200 with 19 FullFlat Business Class seats and 279 Economy Class seats.

"The partnership between Etihad Airways and airberlin continues to move from strength to strength, with 560,000 passengers flying across our two networks in 2013, a 74 per cent increase on the previous year,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer, Etihad Airways.

The second rotation will operate to a schedule to provide maximum connectivity to the Etihad network, increasing two-way connectivity from 19 to 43 destinations with Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi to the Gulf Arabian region, as well as North Asia (Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo Narita), South East Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane), and six destinations in India.  In addition, airberlin is planning to include Perth and Seoul in its schedule through an expanded codeshare with Etihad Airways. 

The six Indian destinations of New Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore will be added to the existing codeshare arrangement between airberlin and Etihad from mid-February and will provide enhanced connectivity from the subcontinent to Europe through airberlin’s route network to destinations across Germany and the wider European market, such as Austria and Switzerland as well as the Nordics or Poland.

According to Hogan, the Abu Dhabi-Berlin route is testament to the airlines’ partnership and often has seat load factors above 90 per cent in peak months.  “It is therefore crucial to build upon the success of the route and ensure that demand and capacity are better matched. In addition, our increased frequency will provide even greater connecting options for guests in both directions via the combined networks of Etihad Airways and airberlin," he added. 

In the analysis below we look in greater detail at the annual capacity on offer between destinations across Germany and the UAE.  Based on current schedule data, capacity this year will rise 3.7 per cent versus 2013, a year which recorded a 3.8 per cent growth.  These modest developments followed a more rapid growth over the previous five years when capacity rose 86.2 per cent (31.1 per cent in 2012, 8.4 per cent in 2011, 7.6 per cent in 2010, 14.9 per cent in 2009 and 6.0 per cent in 2008).

The relocated airberlin operation and Etihad’s own growth in Germany means that Abu Dhabi now accounts for 35.2 per cent of the available seats between Germany and the UAE this year, up from 31.3 per cent last year and its highest level since the turn of the Century.  Dubai International continues to dominate this market although its share of capacity from Germany has declines from 93.7 per cent to 64.3 per cent over the ten year period between 2004 and 2014.