A picture taken on March 13, 2013 shows the logo on the wall of the Etihad Airways Headquarters in Abu Dhabi on March 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB
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While Etihad Airways PJSC let Alitalia SpA slide into bankruptcy after workers spurned a restructuring plan, the Gulf carrier is showing more patience with its other ailing European asset. Hidden on Page 154 of Air Berlin PLC's annual report, published hours after Alitalia's insolvency filing, was the revelation that Abu Dhabi-based Etihad had agreed to provide the German company with financial support for at least another 18 months, including 350 million euros ($382 million) of new funds.That extra injection takes Etihad's total exposure to Air Berlin close to 2 billion euros and suggests the Mideast company is not yet ready to abandon a partner that sits at the heart of a so-called Equity Alliance strategy that saw it build up minority holdings in carriers spanning Ireland to Australia.On the face of it, the situation at Air Berlin, in which Etihad has a 29 percent stake, appears particularly dire, with Chief Financial Officer Dimitri Courtelis resorting to using an April 28 analyst call to reassure passengers that the company remained liquid and wasn't about to cease flying.In a parallel deal, Air Berlin will also move about 20 jets to a leisure business to be formed between TUI AG and Etihad.
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