Etihad Airways and Gulf Air expand 2018 codeshare

The improved agreement covers schedules, loyalty programmes and passengers' travel experience

Tony Douglas (left) Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, and Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Gulf Air’s Acting Chief Executive Officer signing the Strategic Commercial Cooperation agreement.
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Etihad Airways and Bahrain's Gulf Air signed a cooperation agreement to deepen the partnership between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and beyond their respective hubs.

The wide-ranging deal, subject to regulatory approvals, sets out specific actions for growing commercial cooperation, building on an agreement the airlines signed in 2018, Etihad Airways said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We look forward to exploring pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increasingly work seamlessly between our two capitals, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travellers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs," Tony Douglas, Etihad's chief executive, said.

In the first phase of the agreement, by June 2021, the scope of the partners’ codeshare agreement will be significantly expanded, according to the statement. Etihad and Gulf Air will be able to offer up to 30 more combined destinations beyond the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain hubs to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.

The airlines will work together to optimise joint operations on the Abu Dhabi-Bahrain route, with improvements to network connectivity.

They will also improve the respective offerings to premium-tier customers of each others' loyalty schemes, Etihad Guest and Falconflyer, including reciprocal lounge access and better recognition through passengers' journeys, regardless of the operating airline.

The 2018 agreement provided for exploration of maintenance, repair and overhaul, pilot and crew training, and cargo opportunities, which the parties now intend to revisit in light of "current market opportunities and company requirements", the statement said.

“Today, we are reaching a higher level of collaboration with many more opportunities in the horizon between the national carriers of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This agreement will empower both of us to offer a more elevated experience to passengers and widen their travel options," Waleed Alalawi, Gulf Air's acting chief executive said.