United Arab Emirates flag-carrier Etihad Airways has signed a new code-share agreement with TAP Portugal, illustrating its ambitious growth plans in Europe.
The carrier is nominated in ten categories by the World Travel Awards this year, including World’s Leading Airline.
The code-share deal, which is the 34th commercial partnership signed by Etihad Airways, offers guests a wealth of new flight options to destinations in Portugal including Lisbon, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Porto.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad chief operating officer and Hareb Al Muhairy, head of corporate communications celebrate at the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony
Under the code-share, Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on services operated by TAP Portugal from Lisbon to Brussels, Düsseldorf, Faro, Frankfurt, Funchal, Geneva, London, Milan, and Porto.
TAP Portugal flights from Porto to Brussels and Geneva will also carry the ‘EY’ code.
TAP will place its ‘TP’ code on Etihad Airways flights to and from Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, and Milan.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said: “This new code-share illustrates Etihad’s growing ambitions in Europe.
“It opens up four key destinations in Portugal that we have been eager to offer our customers for a long time and we are certain the connections and seamless flight experience offered by Etihad Airways and TAP Portugal will appeal to business and leisure travellers.”
TAP Portugal was nominated in four categories by this year’s World Travel Awards, including World’s Leading Airline to South America.
Fernando Pinto, TAP Portugal’s chief executive officer said: “TAP has been very active in providing new and more diverse quality services to its worldwide customer base.
“Through this new agreement with Etihad Airways, TAP will be reaching the United Arab Emirates for the first time ever, not only offering faster and more convenient links between the Gulf region and Portugal, but also attracting and carrying new passengers to its own network, based at its functional Lisbon hub.”
TAP Portugal’s Luiz Mor (left), Graham Cooke, president of World Travel Awards (right) and Miss World at the World Travel Awards 2010 Grand Final, during which TAP was named World’s Leading Airline to South America
The news of the new code-share comes on the back of Etihad’s strongest ever third quarter financial results, generating $US1.1 billion revenue, up 39 per cent on the same period of 2010.
Passenger numbers also increased 18 per cent, with Etihad carrying 2.25 million fare paying customers over the period.
Seat factors – the percentage of seats available to those filled - increased by 3.8 per cent to 80.7 per cent, the highest quarterly result in the brief history of the airline.
Operating costs rose 12 per cent, on a 12 per cent rise in capacity, while non-fuel costs rose seven per cent.
The airline has 81 per cent of its fuel hedged for the rest of 2011.
Etihad recently reported its strongest ever third quarter results
Hogan said the figures contributed to strong profitability at an EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) level and the airline had moved into monthly operating profitability.
“Despite the continuing challenges of high fuel prices and economic downturn in many of the markets in which Etihad operates, we are seeing strong growth in all our key commercial indicators,” he added.
“Our clear target is to break even in 2011 and this is another big step in the right direction for us.
“We are well on track to delivering a continuing financial return to our shareholder.”
Etihad has added six aircraft to its fleet in the last 12 months, enabling the airline to build greater depth into its schedule and increase weekly frequencies to key markets including Paris, Manchester, Milan, Geneva, Brussels, Bangalore, and Manila.
“Next year we take delivery of another seven passenger aircraft – four B777-300ER aircraft, plus three A320-200s – so the careful, strategic expansion of our global network will continue,” Hogan concluded.