Germany-based tourism business TUI Group’s supervisory board has approved a plan to form a new joint venture (JV) between its leisure airline subsidiary TUI fly and United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Etihad Aviation Group.

Set to be headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the proposed JV is expected to serve various routes with its two airlines, TUI fly and NIKI, a total fleet of around 60 aircraft and a capacity of 15 million seats per annum.

In addition, Etihad is currently in talks with German carrier to buy touristic operations of airberlin with an aim to integrate the company's Southern Europe and North African market with the new JV. 

"Once complete, TUI will hold a 24.8% stake in the JV and Etihad will own 25%."

Intended to connect major tourist destination by air, the JV will mainly operate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

TUI Group said that the planned JV is still subject to approval by the relevant antitrust and aviation authorities.

Once complete, TUI will hold a 24.8% stake in the JV and Etihad will own 25%, while the remaining 50.2% would be held by NIKI Privatstiftung.

TUI Group noted that the contractual negotiations between all involved stakeholders are expected to be finalised in the next few weeks.

The company is involved in diversified market segments, and currently has six European airlines, with nearly 140 aircraft and a distribution network, covering more than 1,800 travel agencies and online portals.