Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel) says it plans to take Germany's federal aviation office (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt - LBA) to court over its decision to deny Air Berlin and Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) codeshare rights on 34 routes for the upcoming winter season.

According to German magazine, Spiegel, the LBA denied Etihad's application on the grounds that they contravene Germany's Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with the United Arab Emirates. The routes affected include: Air Berlin flights from Berlin Tegel and Stuttgart Manfred Rommel to Abu Dhabi Int'l, as well as from Berlin Tegel to twenty destinations in Northern Europe and North America.

Under the agreement, Emirati airlines may operate flights and codeshare services to four airports in Germany - Frankfurt Int'l, Düsseldorf Int'l, Munich and Hamburg Helmut Schmidt - and may operate codeshare services from those four airports to Berlin, Stuttgart and Nuremberg.

Announcing the airline's decision to pursue legal action, Air Berlin CEO, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, told the media that the LBA's ruling would be counter productive as it would further endanger German jobs while boosting growth in rival hubs.

"This step has endangered German jobs, and further to that, growth will now take place outside of Germany and thus strengthen other hubs," he said in a statement.

In total, Air Berlin and Etihad plan to offer a total of 60 codeshare flights this winter season. Previously, requests for codeshare rights for all 60 of the flights have been granted without incident.