Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Etihad Airways expands air-rail deal with AccesRail in Europe

Airline aims to extend the partnership with AccesRail to more continents soon

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Etihad
Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy Etihad

Etihad Airways is expanding its air-rail deal with AccesRail in Europe as it seeks to customise travel packages to attract more passengers amid a pandemic-induced slowdown in global air travel.

The partnership allows Etihad customers to book AccesRail train and coach tickets in Europe, along with their air fare, when booking online with the airline through a travel agency, Etihad said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier's passengers can connect to and from their international flights to rail routes operated by major European railway companies using the airline’s ‘EY’ code, including an expanded network of seven rail routes on Germany’s Deutsche Bahn from Frankfurt Main Airport.

The partnership with AccesRail has also been extended to the UK to include 16 destinations westbound from London Heathrow on Great Western Railway. Subject to final government approval, it will add 28 cities across Italy on the country’s primary rail operator, Trenitalia.

The deal will also see additional inter-city coach services in the UK operated by National Express to 28 major British towns and cities from London Heathrow, and five from Manchester Airport.

Etihad's expanded partnership “provides convenient rail or coach connections at some of our key gateways in Europe, enabling customers to commence their Etihad journey from multiple domestic points with the best fares available, all on the same itinerary and ticket," Ali Saleh, Etihad Airways' vice president of alliances and partnerships, said. “As we aim to personalise the guest experience in-flight by providing more choice and greater customisation, we continue to source more strategic partnerships which will mirror this on the ground."

The airline aims to expand the partnership with AccesRail to more continents, he said.

Etihad Airways has similar agreements with France’s SNCF, providing codeshare services to 20 destinations on the French domestic rail network from the airline’s Paris gateway.

“Through this enhanced AccesRail partnership, Etihad will be able, now and in the future, to offer its customers more destinations and more possibilities," Andrew Popescu, vice president of business development at AccesRail, said.

Operating for more than 20 years, Montreal-based AccesRail has partnerships with major rail companies in Europe, the US, Canada, Korea, and Japan and allows travellers to book air and rail travel on the same itinerary.

Etihad is gradually resuming services to more destinations across its global network as the UAE eased restrictions on outbound and inbound travel for citizens and residents.

All travel remains subject to the entry and health regulations set by the UAE authorities, and those at the end destination.

Throughout August and September, subject to the lifting of international restrictions and the reopening of individual markets, Etihad aims to fly to 61 destinations worldwide from its Abu Dhabi hub, operating approximately 50 per cent of its pre-Covid capacity.

Updated: August 18, 2020 04:11 PM

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