EL AL Israel Airlines and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, are set to explore deeper cooperation following the signing of a virtual memorandum of understanding.
The wide-ranging deal covers scope to introduce joint codeshare services between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, as well as on the global flight networks beyond the two carriers’ hubs.
The memorandum also contains plans for greater commercial cooperation in the fields of cargo, engineering, loyalty, destination management and the optimal use of pilot and cabin crew training facilities.
It was signed virtually by Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer of Etihad Aviation Group, and Gonen Usishkin, chief executive of EL AL Israel Airlines.
Douglas said: “Following EL AL’s historic flight to Abu Dhabi, the first ever flight between Israel and the UAE, this memorandum is the foundation of what we envision will be a strong ongoing relationship between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.
“We look forward to examining ways in which the two flag carriers – Etihad and EL AL – can work more closely together to improve business operations and enhance the experience for our guests.”
In addition to codeshare operations, the teams at Etihad Guest and EL AL Matmid loyalty programmes will explore reciprocal earn and burn opportunities for its members, as well as other benefits.
Etihad Airways announced its intention this week to commence daily services between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv from March 28th.
Usishkin said: “Following the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, we have been provided a great opportunity to examine the possibility of cooperation with Etihad Airways.
“This memorandum is only the start and we believe that together, the two flag carriers will be able to provide our mutual customers with the best possible product and service.
“Already, the common goals we have outlined speak for the success of our future cooperation.”