UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air France-KLM Group this week to expand their codeshare and interline arrangements.
The MoU is aimed at not only expanding the existing codeshare and interline agreements initiated in 2012, but also aims to enhance “collaboration opportunities across passenger operations, loyalty programmes, talent development, and maintenance.”
As part of the latest agreement, more than 40 new routes covering destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia were made available for booking immediately for travel as early as the winter 2023 season.
The MoU proposes the ability for frequent flyers of both Flying Blue and Etihad Guest programmes to earn and redeem miles with Air France, KLM, and Etihad.
The airlines will also explore terminal co-location, reciprocal lounge access and ground handling initiatives.
Etihad currently operates daily flights to both Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol from Abu Dhabi international airport.
Air France will start operating daily flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Abu Dhabi International Airport from October 29, 2023. The route will be operated using its Airbus A350-900 fitted with 324 seats including 34 in business, 24 in premium economy and 266 in economy.
Angus Clarke, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Air France-KLM, said, “I’m delighted to further develop our partnership with Etihad Airways. This 11-year collaboration is now expanding even further. The attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a destination and a hub, powered by Etihad’s large footprint spanning South and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, brings significant richness to this partnership.”
Arik De, chief revenue officer at Etihad, added, “This MoU builds on our existing partnership by exploring deeper network enhancements as we offer improved connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Paris, and leveraging the extensive AF-KL network to Europe and beyond.”
In August of this year, Air France-KLM also signed an MoU with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) with the aim of reinforcing connectivity between Europe and Abu Dhabi. DCT Abu Dhabi aims to attract 24 million visitors to the emirate this year.
Abu Dhabi Airports has also confirmed that it will open its new terminal at Abu Dhabi International airport in ‘early November’ of this year. Known as Midfield Terminal Building during the construction phase, ‘Terminal A’ will cover 742,000 sqm of built-up area. Etihad is expected to gradually shift its operations to the new terminal. Mohammed Al Bulooki, chief operating officer at Etihad Airways, said that Etihad’s flight schedules for Terminal A are “in the final stages of preparation.”
(Image: Supplied by Etihad)