Etihad abandons Etihad Regional, its upscale Swiss-based arm

By David Flynn, July 20 2017
Etihad abandons Etihad Regional, its upscale Swiss-based arm

Etihad is pulling the plug on its upscale Swiss arm Etihad Regional, launched in early 2014 to attract Europe's well-heeled business travellers.

Darwin Airline, which began flying under the Etihad Regional brand after the Gulf carrier purchased a one-third stake in the Lugano-based airline, has announced its sale to Slovenia's Adria Airways and will rebrand as Adria Airways Switzerland.

The move represents yet another retreat for Etihad Airways from its big-spending expansionist era, which also saw the Gulf carrier take large stakes in still-troubled Alitalia and Airberlin.

"The decision to sell this minority stake in Darwin is the result of our current strategic review of our investments and the choice to focus on our other partners," said Kevin Knight, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer of Etihad Aviation Group.

When launching Etihad Regional in January 2014, now-outgoing Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan described the play as "a step-change" for his airline.

"We are creating a unique approach to network development for global airlines. European travellers will now be able to connect from a far, far wider range of European towns and cities on Etihad-branded aircraft, through Abu Dhabi to our destinations worldwide."

Etihad Regional used its fleet of 50-seat Saab 2000 turbo-prop aircraft to lace a new network map across Europe, offering passengers direct connections to dozens of major cities as well as tapping into a half-dozen cities served by Etihad plus the hubs of Airberlin and Air Serbia.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

The continued demise of Etihad Airlines, sad really.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 106

If they just focussed on themselves rather than trying to own all these Airlines, they would be rather profitable.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 May 2017

Total posts 14

Agreed, I was surprised to see a lot of negative reviews for pax experiences on EY in recent times.

While I haven't flown with them for approximately 5 years, the service and quality was of a high standard.

Perhaps they need to target these focal points in an era where SQ's service quality is being questioned.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 436

Agreed. Hopefully they can get rid of these awful investments ASAP and concentrate on being a class-leading premium boutique airline.


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

What to expect...most of Etihad employees, from its CEO to Australian GM, and a lot of staff are ex Gulf look where Gulf Air is these days- a tiny regional carrier after being the carrier for the entire Gulf not too long ago!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 236

Remember that Gulf's shrinking is as a result of new carriers: Emirates, Fly Dubai, Etihad, Qatar and others coming into the scene. Each airline cashed up with new planes and unlimited pots of $$$. But agreed. Hogan's expansion vision for Etihad hasn't worked.

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