By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline's new agreement will allow it to offer 30 flights to cities in the United States
Etihad Airways said on Monday that it has received approval from the US Department of Transportation to put its 'EY' flight code on Aer Lingus' transatlantic services out of Dublin, Ireland.
Under the deal, Etihad will offer ten weekly codeshare flights via Dublin to Boston, eight to Chicago, 12 to New York.
US regulatory approval follows last July's announcement of an interline and codeshare agreement between the national carriers.
Etihad Airways holds a 2.987 percent equity stake in Aer Lingus.
Kevin Knight, Etihad's chief strategy and planning officer, said: "Our strategic partnership with Aer Lingus continues to flourish and, as a result of US regulatory approval for transatlantic services, air travellers in the UAE and beyond now have greater access to the American market via Dublin."
Etihad Airways already places its 'EY' flight code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin and Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Kerry, Lisbon, London Heathrow, Manchester and Stockholm.
In addition, the airline offers codeshare flights on Aer Lingus services from London and Manchester to Dublin, Cork and Shannon, from London to Belfast and from Cork to Amsterdam.
In return, Aer Lingus has placed its 'EI' flight code on services operated by Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, Bahrain, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manchester, Melbourne, Muscat and Sydney.
Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus said they continue to discuss additional commercial and cost opportunities.
The UAE carrier launched services to Ireland in July 2007 with an initial four flights per week, increasing to the current service of ten flights per week in March 2010.
From July, capacity will be boosted by more than one third, with the introduction of a 412-seat Boeing 777-300ER on six of the ten weekly Abu Dhabi-Dublin flights.
Etihad Airways carried more than 215,000 passengers between Abu Dhabi and Dublin in 2012, with the route once again in the airline's top 10 most popular. In addition to a premium lounge at Dublin airport, the airline operates an aircraft maintenance facility.