Etihad launches Etihad Regional – now fly from Cambridge to the world!

Etihad announced the latest step in the quest for world domination by the Middle Eastern airlines last week. And this one is quite clever.

Etihad has announced that, subject to regulatory approval, it will acquire a one-third stake in Swiss airline Darwin. (No, I’ve never heard of it either.)

The airline will then be given a massive overhaul and will launch a swathe of new routes into small airports across Europe. It will be branded Etihad Regional and will look like this:

Etihad Regional

Etihad Regional will act as a feeder for its other partner airlines, primarily airberlin. That said, until the new Berlin airport opens and slots become available, it is having to focus initially on the airberlin hub in Dusseldorf.

It will also feed passengers into other airports that have direct Etihad services to Abu Dhabi, such as Geneva, Amsterdam and Paris.

From the UK, Etihad Regional will fly from Cambridge and London City Airport, in both cases to Dusseldorf only at first.

The full list of routes which will be active in the first half of 2014 is, according to Business Traveller:

Dusseldorf – Berlin / Cambridge / London City

Berlin – Poznan / Wroclaw

Geneva – Toulouse / Belgrade / Bordeaux / Marseille / Nantes / Verona

Zurich – Leipzig / Geneva / Florence / Turin / Linz / Graz / Verona / Lyon

Rome – Tirana / Zagreb

To be honest, I am not sure about this one. There is a lot of talk about the Etihad model of taking small equity stakes in Aer Lingus, airberlin, Air Serbia, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles. However, you could never seriously suggest that this comes close to the power you have as part of an alliance like Star or oneworld.

The most successful of these investments has been airberlin. Even then, though, there is a limit to how much value Etihad gets from feeding traffic into Dusseldorf and Berlin to connect to Abu Dhabi (and, of course, to connect again).

How many people in Cambridge would fly Cambridge – Dusseldorf – Abu Dhabi – Bangkok, for instance, rather than driving to Heathrow and flying direct?

The formal press release on Etihad Regional can be found here.

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Comments

  1. I wouldn’t mind doing a one stop to avoid driving from Cambridge to Heathrow, which often takes longer than a flight to Dusseldorf would! But two stops is pushing it….even for a plane nerd like me 😉 I think Darwin have been operating out of Cambridge for a few months now but aren’t cheap. Most people choose Stansted over Cambridge.

  2. I wonder which travel classes they are going to offer. Economy and Business? Looking at their unhappy faces on fully-booked BA domestic flights, I could imagine that connecting premium cabin passengers would appreciate a curtain behind their necks on these feeder flights…

  3. BritBronco says:

    I think it would be quite attractive for Cambridgeshre residents to fly to DUS and then get on an Avios flight with Air Berlin to New York

    • Very true….it gives us another option. Air Berlin do STN-DUS daily though but I don’t think you can use Avios on that route?

      • Should be able to, no reason why not

        • You are right…I mustn’t have searched for them correctly. It’s 9000 avios plus £46.46 in taxes for STN-DUS economy return. Not bad really.

      • sandgrounder says:

        Sure I’ve seen availability but no RFS so probably not usually worth it.

        • RFS is only BA flights. Are taxes so high on AB short haul? Perhaps use AB coming back – tax is only £23.60 for DUS to STN one way, only £6 more than RFS.

          • sandgrounder says:

            No that’s quite reasonable. Well worth it to avoid the travel if you are local to STN.

  4. I live 10 miles north of Cambridge and I’d definitely take a stop in Dusseldorf over negotiating the M11 and M25 any day! Depending on stopover time in DUS it would more than likely be a shorter journey time than flying from LHR direct.

  5. I think a far better route opening up is Edinburgh to Doha direct. The Qatar Airways flight will begin operating from 28 May next year and fly 5 times a week using the 787 Dreamlimer.

  6. Etihad currently offers fares from Cambridge via AMS/GVA/MIL/CDG – with decent connectivity via AMS (85 mins) to EY’s daily 22:00 dep on the way out and back via GVA (115 mins).

    By my calculations – to arrive in AUH at the same time-ish (07:00-07:30 next morning) – you can check-in at CBG at 17:45 for flight EY 78 via AMS (1 hour with luggage) or LHR at 18:20 (2 hour check in) for EY 18. Not too much in it – if your near CBG suddenly seems the more attractive option – saving time and avoiding Heathrow!

    Finally – did an unscientific check a couple of days ago for an early Dec departure – inc tax CBG-AUH = £566 vs £606 direct from LHR.

    Yeh – a but nerdish, but i’d been excited when I saw the opportunities recently! I’m not a LHR fan..

  7. Janeyferr says:

    Having lived to the rear of Cambridge airport all my life it is a dream to one day fly from there.

  8. Farringdon says:

    How long before they brand it Cambridge – London airport?

    • They are actually planning to knock it down in next few years to build much needed houses. The new airport will be build further north giving a larger catchment and closer to m1

  9. Our company use Darwin as we are based in Cambridge and have an office an hour north or Amsterdam. This has been a really good option for the Dutch guys coming over as it saves the need for a £100 taxi each way from city. Or £50 from stn .the increased cost is outweighed by the benefits when the company are paying. I’m flying with then next week on this route. And it was £200 return, easy jet would be 50. But add a bag, food, drink, taxis, (free parking at Cambridge) and there isn’t such a big difference. Only problem is we are not sure how long this would last as a friend of mine has been the only passenger on a number of occasions.