Etihad Airways and South African Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding allowing the two airlines to introduce a comprehensive range of codeshare and interline air services, as well as explore synergy and efficiency opportunities.
Initially Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on flights from Johannesburg to 10 South African Airways destinations across South Africa and the African continent as well as South America. In return South African Airways will place its ‘SA’ code on 12 of Etihad Airways’ global routes flying from its Abu Dhabi home-base.
The agreement also makes provision for passengers to earn and redeem miles through the airlines’ frequent flyer programmes.
Secondary phases of the co-operation agreement will explore code sharing to more cities, closer synergies and efficiencies in the key commercial areas of procurement, drive incremental revenue opportunities, ground handling as well as training.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive, said: “This impressive, multi-layered, partnership will enable Etihad Airways and South African Airways to achieve significant goals in several different global markets as well as collaborate on a number of key commercial initiatives.
“This strategy, of working closely with partner airlines to serve secondary cities in a market, has been highly successful for Etihad Airways around the world and we look forward to build upon our already strong relationship with the team at South African Airways to extend our footprint in the strategically critical African market.”
Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA’s acting Chief Executive, said: “This extensive commercial agreement will enable SAA to access the vast majority of Etihad Airways global markets. We are pleased to build upon the commercial areas of the agreement that are fundamental to a modern airline partnership.”
Dudu Myeni, SAA’s acting Chairperson, added: “This partnership provides SAA customers with vital, instantaneous, and seamless access to 12 key destinations in the Middle East and beyond. It will also broaden SAA’s network through alliances and strategic partnerships, which is our long term view.”
The first phase of the agreement will see the ‘SA’ code placed on the Etihad Airways flights between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi, as well as on flights to 12 cities on Etihad Airways’ worldwide network that includes destinations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on South African Airways’ flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, as well as to Livingston, Lusaka, Ndola, Harare, and Victoria Falls. Outside the African continent Etihad Airways will place its code on South African Airways’ flights to Sao Paulo.
Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 20 million passengers in 2013.
The agreed co-operation between the two airlines is in line with Etihad Airways’ global alliance strategy in which the Abu Dhabi-based airline works with partner airlines to identify potential areas of cost savings as well as opportunities to achieve economies of scale.
The tie-up coincides with the signing of codeshare agreements between Etihad Airways’ equity alliance partners, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways (subject to regulatory approval), and South African Airways.
Etihad Airway also signed a partnership agreement with Kenya Airways, the national flag carrier of Kenya, and places the Etihad Airways ‘EY’ code on up to 27 Kenya Airways destinations across East and Central Africa.