(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Etihad Airways has signed codeshare deal with Air France-KLM to benefit from each other's network strength in the first phase of a much broader partnership, which will take effect later in October.
The wide-ranging agreement will see Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM offering joint codes on destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. At the same time, Air France is announcing a new deal with airberlin, Europe's sixth largest airline, in which Etihad Airways holds a 29.21 per cent stake.
Other potential areas of co-operation include joint procurement, as well as maintenance and repair collaboration, as both carriers identify cost savings and seek to benefit from economies of scale, as Etihad Airways is doing with its other strategic partners.
Commenting on the 40th codeshare agreement, James Hogan, Etihad Airways' president and chief executive officer, said: "This deal offers countless opportunities to develop an unrivalled commercial relationship."
"It reflects the core elements of Etihad Airways' 10-year master plan, driven by organic network growth, combined with the forging of strategic codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines."
Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 85 million passengers in 2012.
Air France-KLM and airberlin also announced a mutual codeshare agreement allowing customers of each of the two carriers to fly seamlessly on all the routes operated by the other between France and Germany.
Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chief executive officer of Air France-KLM, said: "Working with Etihad Airways allows us to offer our customers a range of new attractive destinations."
Initially, the agreement between Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM will see the Abu Dhabi-based carrier's EY code placed on Air France flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice and Toulouse.
The EY code will also be placed on KLM flights between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo and Stavanger.
Air France will initially place its AF code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles, the Maldives, Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Islamabad. KLM will initially place its KL code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, Melbourne, Islamabad, Colombo and Lahore.
"This deal enables us to further extend our global reach and now gives us a combined network of 321 destinations - the largest of any Middle East carrier," Hogan said. "Partnerships are delivering a major source of our revenue growth, by extending our network reach and putting our brand directly in front of millions of new customers."