Lonely Planet Writer

Two major airlines are creating a brand-new low-cost airline in Europe

Two leading travel giants have come together to establish the sixth largest budget airline in Europe, meaning travellers may soon have yet another option when trying to find low-cost trips around the continent.

Airplane flying over Eiffel Tower in morning, Paris, France.
Airplane flying over the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. Image by Prasit photo/Getty Images

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has joined forces with the pan-European TUI Group to create the new airline which has still to be given a name, and requires approval from aviation bodies.

The new company will have 60 aircraft in operation, making it one of the largest budget airlines located in Europe, where such household names as EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian, Vueling, and Wizz Air are already in competition. The London Independent reports that the current working title for the operation is “Blue Sky”, the same name that was used by British Airways while developing its low-cost airline, Go.

Almost half of the aircraft will be Boeing 737s, supplied by the TUI fleet. The 737s, belonging to Air Berlin (part-owned by Etihad), will be used, as will Airbus A320 jets, belonging to FlyNiki,  which is a subsidiary of Air Berlin. The new airline will have its headquarters in Vienna and will begin operations in April 2017. It will serve a broad network of destinations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Hanover, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, Basel and Vienna), and key markets will include the Balearics, Canaries, mainland Spain and Greece, according to Etihad.