Etihad inks codeshare deal with Saudi's nasair

Agreement signed to collaborate on 26 routes across Middle East, North Africa, Asia

Etihad Airways and Saudi Arabia-based Nasair said on Monday they have signed an agreement to codeshare on 26 flight sectors across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

As part of the deal, the UAE carrier will place its 'EY' code on nasair flights between the Saudi cities of Jeddah and Medinah and its home base of Abu Dhabi.

nasair will place its 'XY' code on Etihad flights between Abu Dhabi and Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Colombo, Dhaka, Kuwait, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Tehran, Beirut, Bahrain, Muscat, Jakarta, Amman, Damascus, Basra, Baghdad, Erbil, Khartoum, Cairo, Tripoli, Istanbul and flights operating to Europe, the Americas and South East Asia.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals, a statement said.

James Hogan, Etihad's president and CEO, said: "This codeshare agreement with nasair continues Etihad Airways' pledge to connect air travellers with key destinations on our network and those of our partner airlines.

"The agreement will provide air travellers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with seamless flight connections and access on more than 20 short and long haul Etihad Airways flights.

"It also enables Etihad Airways to boost our connections to Jeddah, and for the first time, Madinah."

Etihad has 38 other codeshare agreements in place with airlines across the world. Codeshare partnerships, along with equity acquisitions and organic growth, form the three pillars of Etihad Airways expansion plans.

Francois Bouteiller, nasair's CEO, said: "This new codeshare partnership with one of the fastest growing major airlines in the world is just one of many strategic projects being delivered over the coming months within nasair to expand our network and distribution."

Etihad is eyeing further investments if the right opportunity arises, its CEO said on Sunday, adding 2012 revenue could top $5bn for the first time.

Unlisted Etihad has been on an acquisition drive in recent months, taking minority equity stakes in Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus and raising its shareholding in airberlin and Air Seychelles.

The airline, which had revenues of $4.1bn in 2011, generated $281m in revenues from partnerships in the first half of 2012.

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