Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, recently announced the launch of its first branded regional operation, Etihad Regional, after taking a 33.3 percent stake in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline.
Darwin is based in Lugano, Switzerland, with a major hub in Geneva and currently offers scheduled flights to 21 destinations in Europe using 10 50-seat Saab 2000 turboprops. Following the closing of Etihad’s minority investment, which is subject to regulatory approval, Darwin will rebrand its operations as Etihad Regional and align its network to connect passengers from secondary European markets to the main networks of Etihad and its alliance partners Air Berlin and Air Serbia.
The new Etihad Regional logo will be displayed on each side of the fuselage of Darwin’s aircraft; the rear of the airplanes will carry the words “Operated by Darwin Airline,” the company’s present logo and the Swiss flag.
Etihad also announced that it planned to launch daily services from its Abu Dhabi base to Zurich in June 2014 using an Airbus A330-300. Zurich will be Etihad’s second Swiss destination after Geneva.
Through Zurich, the daily flight will connect with the Etihad Regional route network, and provide connections to eight new destinations: Leipzig, Florence, Graz, Linz, Lyon, Turin and Verona, plus new domestic service to Geneva.
By mid-2014, Darwin will add 21 new routes and 18 new destinations. Its network will then include six European gateways served by Etihad: Geneva, Amsterdam, Paris, Dusseldorf, Belgrade and Zurich.