Swiss-based airline Etihad Regional was launched in Zurich heralding a new era of improved regional and international connections for travellers in Europe.
Established in partnership with UAE national carrier, Etihad Airways, the new carrier will be operated by Switzerland’s Darwin Airline, which is headquartered in Lugano with a major hub in Geneva.
The first aircraft to feature Etihad Regional’s branding is a 50-seat Saab 2000. The new livery will adorn all 10 aircraft in the fleet by the end of June 2014.
Etihad Airways president and chief executive officer James Hogan explained that the strategy behind Etihad Regional was to build strong regional airline partnerships around the world.
“Etihad Regional will provide a unique opportunity to strengthen vitally important regional networks and connect them to the rapidly expanding global network of Etihad Airways.
“We will choose partners, as we have done with Darwin Airline, which share our passion for delivering an outstanding service to travellers, with greater choice and more convenience.”
Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will acquire a 33.3 per cent stake in Darwin Airline as part of its equity airline alliance strategy. Darwin Airline will become the seventh member of the international alliance and Etihad Airways’ fourth partner in Europe.
Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline, currently offers year round flights to 15 destinations in Europe using a fleet of 10 Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft. By mid-2014, this will more than double to 34 destinations.
With these additions, Etihad Regional’s network will include seven European gateways served by Etihad Airways: Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris, Düsseldorf, Belgrade, Zurich (commencing in June 2014) and Rome (commencing in July 2014).