Etihad and Korean Air sign codeshare pact

16 Jul 2013 by Clement Huang

Etihad Airways has announced that it has just signed a codeshare agreement with Korean Air, which, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to come into effect on July 22. The agreement will bring the number of codeshare routes operated by Etihad to 46.

As per the agreement, Korean Air will place its "KE" code on Etihad’s daily services between Seoul (Incheon) and Abu Dhabi. Also, top-tier members of both airlines’ loyalty programmes (Etihad Guest and Korean Air Skypass) will be entitled to reciprocity benefits, including lounge access, priority check-in and extra baggage allowances. All members are also allowed to earn and redeem frequent flyers points on all Etihad Airways and Korean Air flights.

According to James Hogan, Etihad’s president and chief executive, the new commercial partnership with Korean Air represents a significant development for the airline.

“Codesharing on the Abu Dhabi-Seoul route will enable the airlines to leverage the strength of their respective brands and distribution channels for mutual commercial and customer benefit.”

Furthermore, Hogan also highlighted the motivation for the new partnership, stating that Etihad has enjoyed significant success since commencing flights to Seoul in late 2010 due to the rapid growth in travel, mutual trade and investment between the UAE and South Korea.

“Korean investment in infrastructure and other projects in the UAE – valued at approximately US$29 billion since 2009 – has been a further catalyst for diplomatic, business and cultural exchange and a major contributor to the growth of travel between the two countries.”

The agreement will also allow Korean Air to widen its footprint in the Middle East and Africa, using the UAE as a new gateway, while Etihad can also extend its reach to the Asia-Pacific region. With the ever-increasing demand of flights into the two regions, Hogan believes that the partnership will be mutually beneficial to both airlines.  

“Demand for business and leisure travel between Korea and the UAE, Middle East and Africa, in particular, has grown many-fold over the past three years while trade between the UAE and Korea, which was valued at US$20 billion in 2012, has also been rapidly expanding,” concluded Hogan.

The expansion of flight services has already seen Etihad increase the frequency of flights into Kuala Lumpur (see here), and agree new codeshare routes with Air France (see here) and South African Airways (see here) so far this year.

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Clement Huang

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