Adria Airways has acquired a majority stake in Swiss regional operator Darwin Airline.
The Slovenian carrier confirms it has purchased a 99.1% stake in Darwin – which operates as Etihad Regional – via a Swiss subsidiary. It expects the remaining shares "will be taken shortly". Etihad has sold its entire 33.3% holding, Darwin confirms.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad purchased its stake the Lugano-based carrier in November 2013 and subsequently rebranded the operation. The rest of the shares were held by private investors.
Under the new deal, Darwin is to operate under its own name and with its own air operator's certificate from its bases in Lugano and Geneva. Adria says it "will assume some administrative and operational tasks and market the services" of the Swiss airline.
"Darwin is an excellent airline with experienced management and staff," states Adria chief executive Arno Schuster. "The expansion of our network and, consequently, optimisation of costs is the best combination for both carriers." He adds: "Our experienced commercial department will market Darwin's flights under the name Darwin."
Darwin chairman Emilio Martinenghi states: "We are convinced that Adria Airways, with its extensive expertise and a strong network of flights, especially in the southeast European market, will be very useful not only for the future of Darwin, but also for the Ticino region, which needs a good connection with the rest of Switzerland and Europe."
Parties to the transaction have agreed that its terms should remain confidential, Adria says.
It notes that Darwin made a small profit last year and has forecast a positive result for 2017.