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Etihad to raise its stake in airberlin to 49% – to leave oneworld?

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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.

airberlin

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.

(Full details of how to redeem on airberlin are in this post.)

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.


Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (November 2020)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here).

Comments (14)

  • mrtibbs1999 says:

    Sad news if they leave, The Tibbs family love the Oneworld Sapphire you can get through them. In fact a least one of us has been gold solid for 14 months now!

  • tony says:

    Not sure I agree with the assessment that ” it is effectively a budget short-haul airline with some long-haul routes attached.”

    I’ve flown with them short haul a few times. The food offering is comparable with BA and although you don’t get free booze, it’s not a big deal on a 1hr hop. Also they allow connections (unlike most LCCs) and bags travel free. A couple of years back, my kids got these great activity packs onboard for a short hop – on a par with what BA supply for long haul.

    And it doesn’t really “feel” like a LCC either.

    Not that any of that will matter as to whether they leave OW, but just wanted to offer my thoughts!

  • Scott says:

    I did a TXL-JFK flight with them back in December and it wasn’t too bad. More private seat than BA; food not too bad; nice “pop open” Tumi bag for the amenity kit; good crew; boarding process needs a little bit of improvement; having to operate the screen by touch isn’t great.

    Great deal at 40k Avios + £64 so I hope they don’t go over to Bling Air.

  • Phillip says:

    By the sounds of it, Etihad wants to develop Air Berlin’s connectivity. For that, I would have thought, tapping onto some OW feed would be beneficial in turning the airline around without Etihad itself having to join any of the alliances. That said, I don’t know what percentage of Air Berlin passengers join from OW connections – if not that many, then maybe they don’t have much more to gain.

    • Rob says:

      Well, Etihad gets all the Avios redeemers for a start! What is also part of this is that Germany has been naughty in trying block the Middle East airlines getting access to slots and airports – this is a bit of a workaround.

      • Phillip says:

        Which no doubt makes Lufthansa enormously unhappy! They’ve fought this long and hard enough! They must so regret passing on an opportunity for a tie up with QR all those moons ago!

  • vonnie says:

    Could the opposite not happen and Etihad join OneWorld?

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely. Etihad believes that alliances have very limited practical benefits, buying up stakes in Alitalia, Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia, Air Baltic, airberlin, Air Seychelles etc is their preferred alternative.

  • […] is increasing its stake in Air Berlin to 49.9%. The airline will no longer fly beyond Abu Dhabi, either. It will now exist, it seems, primarily to […]

  • PaulW says:

    Raffles, I just booked a seat on airberlin TXL – AHU service on an A330.

    I’ve just checked on the airberlin website to secure a seat and it is showing 8 across seating in business (the same as economy) are you sure it will be a business class product?

    Otherwise I’d rather cancel and rebook economy. Thanks for your advice!

    • Rob says:

      It is staggered 8 across, like BA, Emirates etc. Have a look at this video which will show you (sort of) how it is done – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtrQZEanXYY

      • PaulW says:

        Thanks, you are a star! Looks like a great product, am very much looking forward to my £37 one way in business. Not quite sure how they can squeeze 8 business seats in a row though, seat guru came up with a completely different plan from the airberlin website.

        I might consider an avios redemption from DXB – HEL for my return stopping over to catch up with some friends. Another great value route, but in economy I imagine.