Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has signed a new codeshare agreement with Korean Air, South Korea’s largest airline.
The partnership, which comes into effect on July 22nd subject to regulatory approval, brings to 46 the number of codeshares operated by the Abu Dhabi-based flag carrier.
In the first phase of cooperation, Korean Air will place its ‘KE’ code on Etihad Airways’ daily services between Seoul (Incheon) and Abu Dhabi. Members of Etihad Airways’ Etihad Guest and Korean Air’s SKYPASS loyalty programs will also enjoy full reciprocity.
These reciprocity benefits include lounge access, priority check-in and excess baggage allowances for top tier program members and the ability to earn and burn frequent flyer points on all Etihad Airways and Korean Air flights.
Etihad Airways’ president James Hogan said the new commercial partnership with Korean Air was a significant development for the airline – in both strategic and commercial terms.
“The new codeshare with Korean Air demonstrates the operational and customer benefits afforded by Etihad Airways’ strategy of partnering with other great airlines.
“It deepens the existing partnership with Korean Air beyond the interline and special prorate agreements inked in August 2009 and creates a rich, new environment for even closer commercial collaboration.
“Codesharing on the Abu Dhabi-Seoul route will enable the airlines to leverage the strength of their respective brands and distribution channels for mutual commercial and customer benefit.”
Hogan highlighted the rapid growth in travel, trade and investment between the UAE and Korea as drivers of the success Etihad Airways had enjoyed since commencing flights to Seoul in late 2010.
“Demand for business and leisure travel between Korea and the UAE, Middle East and Africa, in particular, has grown many-fold over the past three years while trade between the UAE and Korea, which was valued at US$20 billion in 2012, has also been rapidly expanding.
“Korean investment in infrastructure and other projects in the UAE – valued at approximately US$29 billion since 2009 – has been a further catalyst for diplomatic, business and cultural exchange and a major contributor to the growth of travel between the two countries.
“We envision that closer collaboration with Korean Air will foster continued bilateral growth in these areas,” Hogan concluded.