Etihad and airberlin are dramatically increasing flights to Berlin and Düsseldorf, in a move that may woo business travellers onto the airlines' combined network.
With new flights from Berlin and Düsseldorf added to existing Etihad flights to Frankfurt and Munich, the partnership opens up new daily one-stop flights from Australia to Germany's capital and to the Rhine-Ruhr region, its largest metropolitan area and economic powerhouse.
Berlin flights will move from the city's Tegel airport to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport once the new facilities open later this year.
However, be aware that airberlin is refitting its business class from old-school recliners to angled lie-flat seats over the next few months. Here's the recliner option, which will be disappearing:
The new airberlin business class is a 170cm angled lie-flat seat, similar to what you'll find on many airlines' regional business class -- Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qantas' first-generation Skybed, and so on.
That's compared with the excellent fully flat beds Etihad uses on its long-haul flights from Australia and on to Germany:
So if you need to get some proper sleep or be productive en route, aim for an Etihad plane.
(Take a look at our guide to the different styles of business class seat and cabin layout if you need a refresher on why airberlin's recliners and lie-flats don't stack up to Etihad's beds.)
In a curious twist to the airline partnership tale, airberlin will join the oneworld alliance and thus become a Qantas partner on 20 March, even as it shacks up with the competition: Etihad is Virgin Australia's partner for European flights.
That means you could book a flight on an airberlin plane, earn miles in the Etihad Guest frequent flyer program to redeem for Virgin Australia flights, and hop into a oneworld airline lounge with your Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold or Platinum card.
New flights: schedules and starting dates
From March 25, airberlin will increase to daily flights to Abu Dhabi from Berlin and will add daily Düsseldorf-Abu Dhabi services.
From April 15, Etihad will add extra flights to make its Düsseldorf schedule daily.
Etihad has existing daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Munich, plus double-daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt.
All in all, the new schedule will mean 42 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany from the four German cities.