x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Etihad completes codeshare deal with Air Europa of Spain

The Abu Dhabi carrier will place its 'EY' code on direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Madrid three times per week.

Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Spain’s Air Europa, as the carrier seeks to expand its European route network.

Under the agreement, Air Europa will operate three direct flights per week between Abu Dhabi and Madrid later this year, Etihad said in a statement.

Etihad will also fly to Madrid for the first time from Abu Dhabi.

The agreement will give Etihad and Air Europa access to new routes. Etihad will place its “EY” flight code on Air Europa flights from Amsterdam, Brussels and Milan Malpensa going to Madrid. In exchange, Air Europa will place its “UX” flight code on Etihad flights from the same destinations to Abu Dhabi.

Over the summer season, the two airlines plan to expand the number of codeshare destinations to include cities in Spain and South America via Madrid. More cities will be added in the Gulf region, Africa and Australia via Abu Dhabi.

“Etihad is targeting partnerships with smaller EU airlines that are less competitive to effectively inorganically grow their European footprint,” said Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.

“It’s a smart, non-confrontational expansion policy that’s working well for Etihad and it’s bound to reap dividends for them.”

Last week, the Etihad chief executive James Hogan said that about 20 per cent of the airline’s revenue comes from codeshare agreements and equity partners. Etihad is a minority shareholder in a number of European airlines that include Air Berlin and Ireland’s Aer Lingus.

“We have been keen to offer our customers direct access to the Spanish capital for a number of years, and doing this now in partnership with Air Europa makes perfect business sense. It is the right thing to do,” said Mr. Hogan.

He added that the new route will support the increase in trade volumes between the UAE and Spain, whichhas grown 75 per cent over the past three years. The route will also bring more business and leisure travelers to Abu Dhabi from Spain.

selgazzar@thenational.ae