October 16, 2014 / 5:00 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Air Berlin says Germany lifts Etihad codeshare veto

* Winter schedule codeshare flights cleared -Air Berlin

* Germany, UAE to meet Oct 20 on traffic rights accord

* Air Berlin/Etihad codeshares “unjustified” -Lufthansa (Adds detail on traffic rights talks and Lufthansa)

BERLIN, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Germany has suspended a decision to block Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad from selling tickets for some flights operated by partner Air Berlin, the German carrier said on Thursday.

Last week, Air Berlin said 34 so-called codeshare flights with Etihad for its winter schedule had failed to win the approval of the German federal aviation authority (LBA), despite having been cleared in the past.

“Etihad has been informed that the agreement with us on codeshares has been approved for the winter season,” a spokesman for Air Berlin told Reuters.

A spokesman for LBA could not immediately be reached for comment.

German newspaper Handelsblatt reported earlier on Thursday the LBA’s decision to suspend the codeshare veto was only temporary and the flights, which account for about 46,000 bookings, would not be cleared in the future.

The LBA checks codeshare deals every time airlines submit winter and summer schedules for flights to and from Germany.

Etihad, which owns a 29 percent stake of Air Berlin, is under investigation by German authorities over whether it exercises too much control over loss-making Air Berlin.

For Air Berlin to maintain its European operating licence, it must be majority controlled by European investors.

Germany and the United Arab Emirates will hold talks on Oct. 20 to discuss the bilateral traffic rights agreement, transport minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters in Berlin.

Separately, Deutsche Lufthansa said earlier on Thursday it would not fly between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt in the summer of 2015 because overcapacity on the route meant it had become uneconomical.

Lufthansa blamed Etihad and Air Berlin for the overcapacity on routes to Abu Dhabi, calling their code shares “unjustified.” (Reporting by Peter Maushagen. Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan and Markus Wacket.; writing by Andreas Cremer; editing by David Clarke and Jane Merriman)

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