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Etihad, the state-owned airline of the United Arab Emirates, has launched a European offshoot. Etihad Regional will operate both as a point-to-point airline, connecting 34 European cities, and as a “feeder”, making it easier for passengers to connect with long-haul flights to Abu Dhabi. Its main hub will be Geneva, and destinations served include relatively small airports such as Cambridge, Bolzano in northern Italy and Trapani in Sicily.
The carrier is the result of a partnership between Etihad and Darwin, an existing airline based in Lugano. Etihad has taken a 33.3 per cent stake in Darwin and, by June, Darwin’s 10-strong fleet of Saab 2000 aircraft (each seating up to 50 passengers) will be repainted in Etihad Regional livery. The UAE flag-carrier, founded in 2003, has adopted a policy of “equity alliances” to drive its rapid expansion. It holds a stake in six other airlines, including India’s Jet Airways and Virgin Australia, though Darwin is the first tie-up in what Etihad calls its “branded partnership” model. etihadregional.com
The northern Swedish city of Umea could be become an unlikely destination for rock fans thanks to a new museum devoted to the electric guitar. “Guitars – the Museum” opens this weekend and features around 300 instruments, “perhaps the most astonishing guitar collection anywhere in the world” according to Guitarist magazine. Highlights include a 1958 Gibson Flying V (pictured), a 1960 Les Paul and a 1950 Fender Broadcaster, as well as an exhibit showing how Fenders and Gibson guitars are made. The museum, housed in a former school, is also home to a shop, bar, restaurant and live music venue. It is not the only reason to visit Umea this year: the city is one of two designated European capitals of culture for 2014 (the other being Riga in Latvia), and a programme of events is running throughout the year. guitarsthemuseum.com; umea2014.se
An upmarket surf lodge has opened in Peniche, a renowned surf destination 75km north of Lisbon. The 17-room Surfers Lodge Peniche, designed by Lars Malmqvist, founder of Sweden-based Living Design, has a rooftop pool, terrace, restaurant and its own surf school. Doubles from €118. surferslodgepeniche.com
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