By Parag Deulgaonkar
Airline calls the move “anti-competitive and anti-consumer”
Etihad Airways on Thursday strongly condemned American Airlines decision to terminate its 2009 codeshare agreement, calling it “anti-competitive and anti-consumer”.
In a statement sent to Arabian Business, an Etihad spokesman said the national airline is “disappointed” with the decision of American Airlines to terminate the codeshare relationship, effective March 25, 2018.
“We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial codeshare relationship since 2009 that has provided passengers flying to and from the United States with more and better flight options to points in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and other destinations that historically have not been served by US airlines.
“The Etihad Airways/American Airlines relationship continued notwithstanding our differences on the so-called Open Skies political dispute.”
The spokesperson termed the decision by American Airlines as being “anti-competitive and anti-consumer”.
“This action will reduce choices for consumers and may result in higher fares for travellers to and from the United States.”
Etihad Airways along with many of the top consumer and business groups in the US have categorically rejected the allegations of American and the two other dominant US carriers regarding violations of the relevant air transportation agreements.
According to spokesperson, Etihad’s six daily flights to the United States in no way threaten American Airlines, which together with its regional partner American Eagle, operates 6,700 flights daily to 350 destinations in 50 countries.
“We are committed to the US market and American consumers, and are taking all possible measures to ensure that the flying public is not harmed by this decision.
“We will continue our interline relationship with American Airlines to help ensure continued connectivity to secondary markets. We are committed to working with all airlines, including all United States carriers, to offer passengers more competition, more destinations, and an overall better flying experience.”
In June, US carrier United Airlines terminated its ticketing and baggage interline agreements with a number of Middle East airlines, including Emirates and flydubai.
An interline booking is a voluntary commercial agreement between individual airlines to handle passengers travelling on itineraries that require multiple flights on multiple airlines.
Global consultancy Oxford Economics said last year that Etihad Aviation Group and its equity partner airlines have supported 108,000 jobs across the US and made a $10.7 billion contribution to the American economy.
This week, Emirates cited Campbell-Hill Aviation Group report which said the airline has supported more than 104,000 American jobs and contributed $21.3 billion in revenue to the US economy, including $10.5 billion to the country’s gross domestic product and $6.4 billion of labour income in 2015.