Air Berlin sells bulk of frequent flyer program

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Lossmaking German carrier Air Berlin says it has sold a majority stake in its frequent flyer program to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad.

Air Berlin said Tuesday that it expects to receive €184.4 million ($242.7 million) from the sale of 70 percent of the program.

Etihad already owns a 30 percent stake in Germany's second biggest airline, which has been struggling in Europe's highly competitive travel market.

Air Berlin reported a loss of €271.8 million for 2011, up from €97.2 million the previous year.

The sale of its frequent flyer program is part of the oneworld alliance member's cost-saving drive. Others in the oneworld alliance include British Airways and American Airlines.

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