By Staff writer
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approves commercial agreement for a further five years
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) has approved the commercial cooperation agreement between Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia for a further five years, according to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier.
The draft determination by the regulator will enable Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia to continue codesharing on the Australia-Abu Dhabi route and offering reciprocal lounge and frequent flyer benefits beyond the current authorisation's expiry date of February 25, 2016.
Etihad's president and CEO, James Hogan, said: "Today's announcement by the ACCC is great news for the partnership and for Australian travellers.
"In its first five years, the partnership between Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia has promoted vigorous competition in the Australian travel market, increasing choice for travellers, and has generated significant benefits and increased revenue for each airline through the alignment of our operations.
"Our shared commitment to innovation and superior service delivery ensures that travellers who fly on either airline enjoy an unrivalled guest experience and access to a combined network of 91 codeshare destinations.
"Our intention over the next five years is to expand our global reach and to enhance the guest experience for our shared customers."
Under the current agreement, Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia offer codeshare services to 39 international destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, and to 52 destinations in Australia and Asia.
They also cooperate extensively in the areas of sales and marketing; purchasing and procurement; flight and cabin crew secondments; and offer reciprocal benefits to their frequent flyers including access to airport lounges across their combined networks.
Etihad Airways has a 24.2 percent stake in Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH) and holds a seat on the Virgin Australia board.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.