Etihad signs deal with South African Airways

Arabian Travel Market: Etihad Airways will place its EY code on flghts from Johannesburg to 10 South African Airways destinations as part of the deal.

Etihad Airways yesterday announced it had signed a deal with South African Airways, giving it access to 10 cities across South Africa and the southern hemisphere.

Under a memorandum of understanding Etihad will place its EY code on flights from Johannesburg to 10 South African Airways (SAA) destinations across South Africa and the African continent as well as South America.

In return, South African Airways will place its SA code on 12 of Etihad's global routes flying from the UAE carrier's Abu Dhabi home base. Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 20 million passengers this year.

The news of the deal comes as Etihad scooped three major awards at The World Travel Awards, Middle East in Dubai on Sunday night - including the title of Middle East's Leading Airline for a seventh consecutive year. The airline also won the Middle East's Leading Airline First Class and Middle East's Leading Cabin Crew.

Speaking at the awards dinner James Hogan, the Etihad president and chief executive, said the airline achieved the necessary standard by focusing on giving guests the best possible travel experience.

"The hallmark of Etihad Airways is the warm and generous hospitality that is drawn from the traditional Arabian culture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and of which we are extremely proud."

Dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as the "Oscars of the Travel Industry", The World Travel Awards were established in 1993 to reward the best travel performance through the votes of leading global travel professionals.

Etihad later confirmed its agreement with SAA would enable passengers to earn and redeem miles through both airlines' frequent flyer programmes.

Both airlines will also explore codesharing to more cities, and efficiencies in the key commercial areas of procurement, ground handling and training.

"This 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," said Mr Hogan.

"This strategy, of working closely with partner airlines to serve secondary cities in a market, has been highly successful for Etihad Airways and we look forward to extending our footprint in the strategically critical African market."

Etihad will place its EY code on SAA flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, as well as to Livingstone, Lusaka, Ndola, Harare and Victoria Falls. Etihad will also place its code on SAA flights to Sao Paulo.

The tie-up coincides with the signing of codeshare agreements between Etihad's equity alliance partners, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways, and SAA.

Etihad also signed a partnership agreement with Kenya Airways, with the EY code placed on up to 27 Kenya Airways destinations across East and Central Africa.

Published: May 7, 2013 04:00 AM


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