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Etihad and Air France-KLM Sign MOU to Expand Collaboration
Etihad Airways and the Air France-KLM Group are seeking to expand and enhance their codeshare and interline agreements which began in 2012. The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the parties this week will seek to enhance the existing collaboration ‘across passenger operations, loyalty programs, talent development, and maintenance.’
Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer at Etihad, said: “This MoU builds on our existing partnership by exploring deeper network enhancements as we offer improved connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Paris, and leveraging the extensive AF-KL network to Europe and beyond.” Etihad currently operates a daily service to both Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). Air France had previously announced a daily return service between CDG and AUH commencing Oct. 29.
Angus Clarke, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Air France-KLM, echoed the benefit of network expansion that the agreement will bring. Clarke also highlighted the additional areas that the MOU would encompass. “This 11-year collaboration is now expanding even further, as we aim to explore opportunities in maintenance and loyalty, in addition to enhancing our route network for the benefit of our customers from all around the world,” Clarke said.
More than just an agreement among airlines
Air France-KLM had perhaps signaled its intent to expand its collaboration with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national airline by signing a MOU with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism earlier this year. “The attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a destination and a hub, powered by Etihad’s large footprint spanning South and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, brings significant richness to this partnership,” Clarke said at this week’s announcement.
Though the MOU is still subject to regulatory approval the airlines announced that more than 40 additional routes would be added as codeshare flights. The destinations would be in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia. Some of those routes would be services to be operated in the upcoming Winter schedule and be available for immediate sale.
De added that the MOU “reaffirms Etihad’s intent to bolster Abu Dhabi’s cultural and economic growth as we look forward to welcoming more guests to our home enjoying better travel benefits and enhanced customer experiences along the way.” The MOU proposes that members of the airline’s Flying Blue and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programs will be able to earn and redeem miles across flights on the codeshare network.
Air France and KLM are members of the SkyTeam global strategic alliance whilst Etihad, like its UAE counterpart Emirates, is not a member of any of the three major global strategic alliances.
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