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FRANKFURT/ABU DHABI: December 16, 2016. The Lufthansa Group is to wet-lease 38 airberlin aircraft for six years in an agreement with Etihad Airways (EY) that includes code sharing on LH flights from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro and Bogota, and EY services from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt and Munich.

The wet-lease agreement with airberlin - in which the Etihad Aviation Group indirectly holds a 29 percent stake - will provide 33 aircraft to Eurowings and five for Austrian Airlines.

Eurowings A330Since March this year, Lufthansa Cargo has been using the bellyholds of Eurowings' A330 long haul flights from Cologne to Varadero, Cancun, Dominican Republic, Phuket and Bangkok.

"By integrating Eurowings' belly capacities, the services we provide our customers become all the more attractive," said Lufthansa head of Product & Sales Alexis von Hoensbroech, "Eurowings' growing network is an ideal complement to our previous connections."

Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said his airline has long seen Germany as a key strategic market: "We are, in our role as a minority shareholder in airberlin, fully supportive of the agreement with the Lufthansa Group to wet lease 38 airberlin aircraft. It is very clear to us at Etihad Airways that Lufthansa is a like-minded, forward thinking organization with which we can do strong, meaningful and mutually beneficial business."

Lufthansa Group chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr commented: "The wet-lease contract with airberlin fosters the growth of our Eurowings Group. The codeshare agreement of Lufthansa and Etihad will offer our customers more benefits and complement both airlines' networks. We will consider extending our cooperation in other areas," he added.

Eurowings' revenue for the first nine months of 2016 was €1.56 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent year-on-year. EBIT fell from €60 million to €-35 million in the same period due to "high project costs".

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