At some point today, airberlin is likely to confirm to the German stock market that Etihad is raising its stake in the airline from 30% to 49.9%.
More importantly, the airline is to delist from the market. The remaining 50.1% will be held by a group of German investors in order to meet EU airline ownership rules, but Etihad will have by far the largest stake.
It is not clear at the moment if anything will change with airberlin’s position in oneworld. airberlin has an odd position in the alliance, since it is effectively a budget short-haul airline with some long-haul routes attached.
Followers of Head for Points will know that I rate them very highly for their low-tax redemptions. Last year I flew – twice – from New York to Berlin in Business Class for just £1 of tax. A lot of HFP readers also use them to get to the Middle East – the Berlin to Abu Dhabi route is astonishing value at 50,000 Avios + £75 in Business Class.
One recent change is that Etihad is taking over the Abu Dhabi – Phuket flights currently operated by airberlin. From the end of October, all airberlin flights to Abu Dhabi will terminate in Abu Dhabi. Phuket on airberlin will therefore not be available as an Avios redemption after October.
airberlin has been losing so much money in recent years that something had to be done. This transaction is probably not enough to solve the problem, but as long as airberlin remains in oneworld it should be ‘business as usual’ for Avios redemptions.