Gulf Air and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have signed a strategic commercial cooperation agreement to deepen the partnership between the two.
The wide-ranging, subject to obtaining applicable governmental and regulatory approvals, sets out specific actions for deepening and broadening commercial cooperation.
It builds on a memorandum of understanding signed by the airlines in 2018.
The deal envisages a phased approach to closer collaboration between the partners.
In the first phase, by June, the scope of the partners’ codeshare agreement, first signed in 2019, will be significantly expanded.
Gulf Air and Etihad will be able to offer up to an additional 30 combined destinations beyond the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi hubs, across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.
The partners will work together to optimise joint operations on the Bahrain-Abu Dhabi route, with improvements to network connectivity over each of the partners’ hubs.
Additionally, the partners will work together to improve the customer journey on Bahrain-Abu Dhabi, making it more seamless, regardless of the operating carrier, with enhanced and harmonised policies and products in areas such as baggage and ancillaries.
The 2018 deal also provided for exploration of MRO, pilot and crew training, and cargo opportunities, which the parties will now re-visit in light of current market opportunities and company requirements.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “This agreement reinforces the strength of the ongoing partnership between our two airlines.
“We look forward to exploring pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increasingly work seamlessly between our two capitals, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travellers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs.”