Etihad urges Air Berlin-Air France tie-up-report

FRANKFURT, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi based airline Etihad Airways is urging German peer Air Berlin , in which it holds some 30 percent, to offer joint flights with Air France , German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing Etihad's chief executive.

Air Berlin should offer joint flights with Air France, Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview to be published in tomorrow's edition.

Etihad itself is already discussing a so-called codeshare agreement with Air France.

Hogan said Air Berlin would not need another loan from Etihad and would return to profit in the next 12 to 18 months.

Air Berlin Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn predicts Air Berlin to at least post an operating profit in 2013, he said in August.

(Reporting by Peter Dinkloh; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

(( 69 7565 1345)(Reuters Messaging: