Air Berlin and parent Etihad Airways have won an appeal against a Braunschweig administrative court ruling in Germany issued late last month which required them to cease codesharing on thirty-one routes beyond 15 January.
In a statement, the German carrier said the Higher Administrative Court in Lüneburg had ordered the German civil aviation authority (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt – LBA) to approve twenty-six of the thirty-one disputed codeshare routes until 26 March 2016 – the end of the current winter season.
“This is a good result for Air Berlin,” Stefan Pichler, airberlin CEO, said. “We’re delighted with the decision and regard it as confirmation of our current approach. The verdict sends a positive signal to our consumers and is a victory for increased competition in the German aviation market, meaning that German passengers can continue to enjoy freedom of choice.”
The previous Braunschweig ruling had said the affected routes were not covered by the terms of Germany’s air services agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and would therefore have to be suspended with effect from 16 January until the end of the current winter season. The revised Lüneburg ruling, however, has allowed for the twenty-six routes to continue to operate beyond the current winter season.
“We remain strongly committed to our strategic partner, Air Berlin, and will redouble our efforts to provide a strong competitive alternative to the dominant German carrier, Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int’l),” Etihad Airways president and CEO, James Hogan, said. “We would like to encourage German consumers to support Air Berlin and its 8,000 staff, who have been seriously damaged by this sustained attack on their business.”