Etihad Airways has strengthened its links with Air Berlin by opening a new European headquarters in the German capital.

The office houses not just Etihad's regional sales and marketing teams, but also joint reservation and ticketing counters for both the Middle Eastern airline and its local equity partner, in which it holds a 29% stake.

"While much of Europe continues to face challenges linked to the prevailing euro crisis, the German inbound and outbound travel is performing well for us," says Etihad chief executive James Hogan. "It makes sound business sense to be based in Berlin, and close to our strategic equity partner."

Joost den Hartog and Philip Lewin will lead Etihad's Europe and Germany teams, respectively, at the new Berlin office, at which the airline has a staff of 35.

Etihad's passenger numbers to and from Germany grew 47% last year, says Hogan, citing "strong feeder traffic from Air Berlin" as a factor in this.