Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi national flag carrier, Saudia, have announced a new codeshare partnership, providing customers with access to more than 40 leisure and business destinations in the home markets and across the world.
At its core, a codeshare allows an airline to expand its network with a minimal investment of resources. Other benefits also come with that expansion.
In addition to the codeshare agreement, the two carriers also announced plans for greater commercial cooperation in other fields, including frequent flyer programme benefits, cargo, and engineering and maintenance.
The codeshare agreement was signed at Saudia headquarters in Jeddah by Eng. Saleh bin Naser Al Jasser, Director General Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, of Etihad Aviation Group.
Al Jasser said: “With the agreement, the added network coverage enables our guests to benefit from added flexibility and convenience, as well as increase the benefits for members of both airlines’ frequent flyer plans.”
Douglas said: “The partnership will allow for enhanced seamless travel across the Etihad Airways and Saudia networks which we anticipate will be highly popular with business and leisure travelers, especially those looking to fly to secondary city destinations.”
The codeshare agreement will see Etihad Airways place its ‘EY’ code on Saudia’s flights to, Abha, Al-Baha, Alula, Arar, Bisha, Dammam, Dawadmi, Gassim, Gizan, Gurayat, Hail, Hofuf, Jeddah, Jouf, Madinah, Qaisumah, Rafha, Riyadh, Sharurah, Tabuk, Taif, Turaif, Wadi-Ad-Dawasir, Wedjh, Yanbo, and Abu Dhabi. Port Sudan, Tunis, Alexandria, Sharm el-Sheikh, Multan and Peshawar are subject to Government approval.
At the same time, Saudia will place its ‘SV’ code on Etihad flights to Baku, Chengdu, Ahmedabad, Nagoya, Tokyo-Narita, Dammam, Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Belgrade, Seychelles, Chicago-O’Hare, and Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the codeshare, the teams at the Etihad Guest and Alfursan frequent flyer programmes are finalizing discussions which would see members of each programme being offered reciprocal earn and burn opportunities.
In the cargo world, the teams in both airlines’ divisions are in talks about greater cooperation, recognizing the increased volumes of freighter traffic flowing into and out of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Etihad Airways Engineering will also provide select maintenance services for SAUDIA aircraft at its MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) facility in Abu Dhabi.
In 2017 Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) carried more than 32 million passengers, registered over 200,000 flights and traveled more than 320 million kilometers, while SAUDIA Cargo carried more than 637,000 tonnes of freight.
In 2017, Etihad Airways operated 7,578 passenger flights and carried 1.3 million guests between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Etihad Cargo carried more than 28,000 tons of cargo between the two countries last year.
In the winter 2018 schedule (effective from 28 October), Etihad will operate the following frequencies and aircraft types to KSA:
.Medina: one daily A320 operation. Please note Etihad has additional frequencies published for the Umrah peak in November / December.
.Dammam: four daily A320 operations.
.Jeddah: three daily operations consisting of: 1 two class 777-300ER; 1 two class 787-10; 1 A320 operation.
.Riyadh: three daily operations consisting of: one two class 787-9; one A321, one A320.
Speaking in code
In July, Etihad Airways announced plans to forge new codeshare partnerships with airlines around the world as it continues an operational review to narrow losses in 2018 and bring the carrier back to profitability and sustainable growth, Etihad’s CEO Douglas said at the time.
The move follows a month earlier the “delisting” of the Etihad by the Star Alliance – one of the world’s largest airline alliances – allowing 40 members of the alliance, including Saudia, to engage with Etihad on codeshare deals, according to Douglas.
Etihad airline has codeshare agreements with at least 51 airlines while Saudia also has codeshare agreements with a minimum of 10 other carriers.