The remainder of Darwin’s fleet will be transitioned to the new branding by June, including the aircraft which Darwin operates on behalf of Swiss European Air Lines.
“We have been flying Lugano-Zurich for Swiss since 2005 and it is a very high-quality product that we offer them. Our contract expires in October this year and they are in the renewal phase, so we have been asked to apply to renew and we are in discussions. We will see,” Merlo said.
Having Etihad Regional branding on the route will be a fresh blow to Swiss, which recently called for fair competition between European and Gulf carriers. Emirates has just launched Airbus A380 services on Dubai-Zurich and this will be followed Etihad’s new Abu Dhabi-Zurich service at the end of June.
Darwin’s rebranding also includes a new Saab 2000 cabin interior and uniforms, which are a slight variation on Etihad’s own crew wear.