Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) has disposed of its 33.3% stake in Swiss operator Darwin Airline (F7, Lugano) following a mass buy-out by Slovenia's Adria Airways (JP, Ljubljana).

According to an airline statement, Adria Airways, through its Swiss subsidiary, has acquired a 99.1% in Darwin Airline SA. The remaining interest will be acquired in the short term.

Under the terms of the new agreement between Darwin and the current shareholders of 4K Invest Luxembourg, the current owners of Adria Airways, Darwin will continue to operate under its legal name, "Darwin Airline SA", and its air operator's certificate (AOC). It will maintain its headquarters in Lugano with Geneva as its secondary base. The commercial brand will, however, change from Etihad Regional to Adria Airways Switzerland.

In terms of leadership, Darwin's CEO Maurizio Merlo has chosen to retire and will be replaced by Heinrich Ollendiek, who has thus far served as the Chief Financial Officer of Adria Airways.

Darwin Airline currently operates four ATR72-500s and six Saab 2000s on scheduled passenger flights throughout Switzerland, as well as to Italy, Spain, and France. It also undertakes ACMI contracts for other carriers which, at present, include Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) and Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel).