Etihad Airways and air Berlin are to significantly increase services between Abu Dhabi and both Germany and Thailand.

From 25 March 2012, airberlin will operate three daily flights to Abu Dhabi, including direct daily flights from two German hubs – Berlin and Düsseldorf – to the UAE capital.

In addition, and subject to government approval, airberlin will launch a new route between Abu Dhabi and flights to Phuket, offering a daily year-round service to the popular island destination in Thailand. Airberlin’s expanded schedule to Abu Dhabi will also be complemented by Etihad Airways’ own capacity increases to Germany and Thailand. From 15 April 2012, Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi–Düsseldorf service will increase to a daily frequency, providing a combined double daily offering with maximum connectivity over Etihad Airways’ and airberlin’s major hubs. Etihad Airways’ Düsseldorf service will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a three-class configuration.

Etihad Airways will also launch a third daily Abu Dhabi and flights to Bangkok service from 15 April 2012 with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a two-class configuration.

Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said, “Our strategic partnership with airberlin continues to gain momentum, and we are delighted to announce such a major increase in services from our respective hubs.

Etihad Airways and airberlin will now offer a combined 42 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany from a total of four German hubs. In addition, the commencement of the first daily non-stop flight from the Middle East to Phuket is an exciting development for leisure travellers across the Middle East and Europe, and highlights Abu Dhabi’s strategic location as a major gateway to Asia.

“It all adds up to a game changing proposition for travellers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and across the rest of our combined global network,” Mr Hogan said.

Etihad Airways and airberlin group carry a combined total of more than 40 million passengers a year, operate 233 aircraft and employ 18,000 people.