Etihad Airways has signed a deal with South African Airways for a new "strategic partnership".
The two airlines have reached an agreement which sees them initially codeshare on a range of flights as well as examining options to save money through joint procurement, training and maintenance.
The move follows Etihad’s announcement of a similar partnership with Kenya Airways earlier this year (see online news, February 21).
Etihad will place its EY code on SAA flights from Johannesburg to ten destinations across South Africa, Africa and South America. Meanwhile, SAA will put its SA code on 12 of Etihad’s global routes.
Members of the two airlines’ frequent flier programmes will also be able to earn points through a reciprocal arrangement.
James Hogan, Etihad’s CEO, said: "This impressive, multi-layered, partnership will enable Etihad Airways and South African Airways to achieve significant goals in several different global markets as well as collaborate on a number of key commercial initiatives.
"This strategy, of working closely with partner airlines to serve secondary cities in a market, has been highly successful for Etihad Airways around the world and we look forward to build upon our already strong relationship with the team at South African Airways to extend our footprint in the strategically critical African market.”
SAA’s acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout added: “This extensive commercial agreement will enable SAA to access the vast majority of Etihad Airways global markets. We are pleased to build upon the commercial areas of the agreement which are fundamental to a modern airline partnership.”
Etihad has been busy agreeing a series of partnerships with other airlines over the last 18 months including Air France-KLM.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier has also taken minority shareholdings in other carriers such as Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia and, most recently, India’s Jet Airways.
For more information, visit etihad.com, flysaa.com.
Report by Rob Gill