A German appeals court allowed Etihad to operate most of its code-share flights with Air Berlin for the winter schedule ending in March. The court said Etihad and Air Berlin should be allowed to continue code sharing on 26 international routes. The court rejected code sharing on five domestic German routes.
The court said the international routes could continue as they are in accordance with the German/Abu Dhabi bilateral signed in 2000. Etihad said the code-sharing is a primary reason for its investment in Air Berlin in 2012. Etihad has invested in a number of other EU airlines.
“The court’s interpretation of the UAE-Germany Air Services Agreement also means that Etihad Airways will be able to continue with all those code-shares beyond the Winter Schedule,” Etihad said in a statement. Air Berlin shared Etihad’s positive response to the court’s decision. No doubt so do Qatar and Emirates.
The case started after the German government in 2014 claimed some of the previous approved code shared flights were not covered by the agreement between Germany and the UAE. Last year Germany said it would approve 29 disputed routes for the final time until January 15. A lower court in Brunswick backed this. It was then that Etihad decided to appeal.
While Etihad and Air Berlin can move forward for now, the situation is not without future hitches. The German government might yet come back to courts. There is little doubt that Lufthansa would like that and will assist in any way it can.