Etihad Airways is now able to provide enhanced access to and from South Africa following the launch of a new daily service between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi by its codeshare partner, South African Airways.
A delegation of senior SAA management, South African government officials and visiting travel trade and media representatives, was welcomed to Abu Dhabi when flight SA 278 touched down on schedule at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 20:25 last night.
The new service has been introduced as part of an expansion of the strategic partnership agreement between the two airlines, and complements Etihad Airways’ existing daily service from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, to provide guests with a double-daily service and greater choice and flexibility whether travelling from Africa, the United Arab Emirates or beyond.
As a result, South African Airways’ guests travelling from Africa, can access up to 35 new codeshare destinations, pending regulatory approval, with connections through the Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub to key destinations in the GCC region, Europe, North and South East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Australia.
Etihad Airways’ guests will benefit from enhanced access to Africa on South African Airways’ new service from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg, and subject to outstanding regulatory approval, onwards to 17 codeshare destinations across South African Airways’ network in Africa.
In addition to the network benefits of the partnership, the airlines will also work closely together to achieve a range of synergies where opportunities exist to generate new revenues and drive cost savings.
Examples of this include reciprocity across their respective loyalty programs, sharing state-of-the-art lounge facilities, and reviewing the airlines cargo operations, training and procurement.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome South African Airways to Abu Dhabi, and are confident that its new service will prove popular with the increasing numbers of business and leisure travellers that fly between South Africa and key markets around the world.
“This partnership will enable us to change the size and shape of our global networks – so that together we can offer more than 1,000 city pair connections every week via our respective hubs.
“By working closely together, we can enhance the benefits provided to our guests who now have greater choice, better flight connections, access to each other’s premium lounges and more opportunities to earn and redeem miles when travelling with either airline.”
Tourism plays a vital role for both countries.
Millions of tourists visit South Africa every year, including nearly 300,000 from the Middle East region in 2014.
This new service also taps into the large and established flows of people and capital investment between South Africa, and the emerging markets across the Middle East, North and South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, generating passenger demand in both directions.
The new South African Airways service is operated by a two-cabin Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured to carry 36 passengers in Business Class and 186 in Economy Class.