Etihad and Air France-KLM sign codeshare
Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM have signed a major codeshare agreement starting October 28, which will bolster Etihad's presence within mainland Europe and allow Air France-KLM the opportunity to strengthen its market reach in the Subcontinent and Australia.
Initially, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s EY code will be placed on Air France flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice and Toulouse, as well as on KLM flights between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo and Stavanger.
Air France will initially place its AF code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles, the Maldives, Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Islamabad, while KLM will initially place its KL code on Etihad flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Melbourne, Islamabad, Colombo and Lahore.
The deal also sees Air France form a new codeshare agreement with airberlin, Europe’s sixth largest airline, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29.21 per cent stake, and allows passengers of each of the two carriers to fly on each other's routes between France and Germany.
In a statement today, Etihad said it was the first phase of a "much larger strategic partnership".
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and CEO, said the signing of its 40th - and arguably, most high-profile - codeshare offers "countless opportunities to develop an unrivalled commercial relationship". He hinted at the announcement when delivering the keynote speech at the Routes forum last week (click here).
"It reflects the core elements of Etihad Airways’ 10-year master plan, driven by organic network growth, combined with the forging of strategic codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines," he said. "The linking together of these three components, as we continue to strengthen our bilateral agreements, means all the pieces of our plan are coming together."
Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 85 million passengers in 2012.
Hogan claimed the deal enables it to further extend its global reach and provides a combined network of 321 destinations, "the largest of any Middle East carrier".
The tie-up will enable Etihad and KLM to be more competitive on the increasingly competitive Australasian sectors, following the announcement of the Emirates-Qantas partnership, which aims to swing into effect in April, and allows Etihad and Air France to compete more forcefully with Emirates in Europe, where the Dubai carrier already flies to Newcastle, Madrid and Amsterdam, and will shortly start flights to Lyon in December (click here).
Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of airberlin, said the partnership will add "interesting services" and more choice for its passengers. "In this way we will considerably strengthen our presence in the European market and link our Berlin hub to even more destinations."
The new strategic partners will work together on the proposed integration of frequent flyer programs which includes reciprocal ‘earn-and-burn’ privileges for 1.5 million Etihad Guest members and 21 million Air France-KLM Flying Blue frequent flyers across the combined networks.
Other potential areas of co-operation include joint procurement, as well as maintenance and repair collaboration, as both carriers identify cost savings and seek to benefit from economies of scale.
Report by Dominic Ellis
flyingdutchman - 08/10/2012 21:41
Good news, especially after the Emirates / Qantas deal, which would dominate the Australian routes. Great to be able to book Australia again via KLM (though you fly with anything but KLM).
Do not see much in the Air Berlin / Air France / KLM tie-up YET.
AlexUpgrade77 - 09/10/2012 10:01
I think it's inevitable now that Etihad and Virgin Atlantic/Australia/America will join Skyteam. Given the ties Eithad and Virgin now have with existing Skyteam members Delta, KLM, Air France, it makes the move inevitable.
Virgin Australia could still keep it's codeshare arrangement with SQ as it only operates for ports where Etihad don't operate.
It would also give Etihad and Virgin FF members the opportunity to take advantage of being part of an alliance.
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