By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi carrier inks agreement to expand destinations across African continent
Etihad Airways and South African Airways have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to introduce a codeshare and interline air services.
Initially Etihad Airways will place its EY code on flights from Johannesburg to 10 South African Airways 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 Airways’ global routes flying from the UAE national carrier’s Abu Dhabi base.
The agreement also makes provision for passengers to earn and redeem miles through the airlines’ frequent flyer programmes, a statement said.
Secondary phases of the cooperation agreement will explore code sharing to more cities, closer synergies and efficiencies in the key commercial areas of procurement, drive incremental revenue opportunities, ground handling as well as training, the statement added.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and CEO, said the agreement would enable both carriers to achieve "significant goals" in several global markets.
“This strategy, of working closely with partner airlines to serve secondary cities in a market, has been highly successful for Etihad Airways around the world and we look forward to build upon our already strong relationship with the team at South African Airways to extend our footprint in the strategically critical African market.”
Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA’s acting CEO, added: “This extensive commercial agreement will enable SAA to access the vast majority of Etihad Airways global markets. We are pleased to build upon the commercial areas of the agreement which are fundamental to a modern airline partnership."
Etihad Airways will place its EY code on South African Airways’ flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, as well as to Livingston, Lusaka, Ndola, Harare, and Victoria Falls. Outside the African continent Etihad Airways will also place its code on South African Airways’ flights to Sao Paulo.
Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 20 million passengers in 2013.
The tie-up coincides with the signing of codeshare agreements between Etihad Airways’ equity alliance partners, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways, and South African Airways, subject to government approval.
Etihad Airway also signed a partnership agreement with Kenya Airways to place its EY code on up to 27 destinations across East and Central Africa.