UAE, Germany plan talks over Air Berlin-Etihad code share

Air Berlin and Etihad are still awaiting approval for this winter’s flight schedule

The United Arab Emirates is seeking talks this week aimed at gaining Germany’s approval for code share flights operated by Air Berlin and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, a shareholder in Air Berlin.

Code share agreements allow airlines to sell tickets for flights operated by partners and vice versa, allowing both to offer more destinations to their customers.

The UAE wants to hold talks on Thursday or Friday, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

A spokesman for the German transport ministry said in response that its offer of talks had been on the table for several weeks and welcomed the fact the UAE had accepted the offer.

Loss-making Air Berlin has 65 code share flights with Etihad, which bring it about 140m euros ($159m) in turnover.

However, the routes have come under scrutiny by the German government over the last year because the current bilateral agreement between the two countries restricts where Etihad can fly to within Germany.

Berlin, Air Berlin’s home hub, is not among the four German airports that UAE carriers may fly to.

The German government approved the code shares for last winter and this summer, but has previously said that should remain an exception.

Air Berlin and Etihad are still awaiting approval for this winter’s flight schedule, which is due to start at the end of the month. The two governments last held talks on the matter in August.

Air Berlin said on Tuesday it expected the transport ministry to set a date for talks and to approve the winter flight plan.

Etihad was not immediately available for comment.