UAE national airline Etihad Airways will increase its stake in German carrier Airberlin from 3 per cent to 29 per cent, making it the largest single shareholder in the company. Etihad Airways will provide five-year financing facilities of up to $255m to support fleet development and future network growth.

“This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth,” says James Hogan, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways.

The two airlines together will have a combined total of more than 40 million passengers a year, operate 233 aircraft and generate more than $9bn in revenues, according to Hogan.

Etihad Airway’s minority stake will consist of 27.03 per cent from a new share issue by Airbelin funded by operational cash flow and an existing interest of 2.99 per cent, which will amount to a total interest of 29.21 per cent. The new shares will be issued at $3.