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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Etihad Airways and Gulf Air consider deeper co-operation following codeshare plans

Airlines sign wide-ranging preliminary agreement during Bahrain Airshow

Etihad Airways and Gulf Air sign MoU covering codeshares to cargo opportunities. Courtesy Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways and Gulf Air sign MoU covering codeshares to cargo opportunities. Courtesy Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways and Bahraini Gulf Air are planning to strengthen co-operation ranging from codeshares to cargo services as the Abu Dhabi airline extends its commercial ties with regional peers.

The Arabian Gulf airlines signed a wide-ranging preliminary agreement that covers an option to operate codeshare flights between their hubs and on their global networks, Etihad and Gulf Air said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The deal outlines plans for co-operation in cargo, engineering, loyalty programmes and pilot-training facilities.

“We look forward to the Etihad and Gulf Air teams coming together during the next few months to look at how we can put that in place," said Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group's chief executive.

The agreement comes after Etihad signed a similar pact with Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Saudia as it's known, last month. Etihad said it was open to forge new codeshare agreements worldwide as it seeks sustainable growth.

The Abu Dhabi airline is undergoing a structural and strategy change amid a company-wide review. Etihad has overhauled its business by appointing a new chief executive, scrapping unprofitable routes and slashing costs after it made a loss of almost $2 billion in 2016.

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Etihad and Gulf Air are set to begin discussions on maintenance, overhaul and repair opportunities, and ways to boost cargo volumes between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the companies said without specifying a timeline.

Gulf Air currently operates four daily flights between Manama and Abu Dhabi, while Etihad operates three return daily services between the two cities.

The airlines signed the agreement on the first day of the Bahrain Airshow taking place this week at the Sakhir base.