Air France-KLM has formed of a new commercial partnership with Etihad Airways and its European partner, airberlin.
The deal will see the four airlines start codeshare on a range of routes, adding five new destinations each to Air France and KLM in Asia Pacific, and 10 more European destinations for Etihad.
Air France passengers will be able to connect through Abu Dhabi for flights to Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu, the Seychelles and Maldives, while KLM passengers will be able to access Colombo, Islamabad, Lahore, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Etihad’s passengers meanwhile, will be able to connect through Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for Air France-operated flights to Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice and Toulouse, and through Amsterdam Schiphol airport to KLM’s flights to Billund, Cardiff, Newcastle, Oslo and Stavanger.
In addition, airberlin and Air France-KLM will codeshare on several domestic French routes from Paris, UK services from Amsterdam and flights from Berlin to destinations in Germany, Austria, Poland and Russia.
“This new partnership between Air France-KLM, Etihad Airways and airberlin reflects our group’s strategic positioning to ensure the best possible services in Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world, by developing our network and airline partnerships,” said Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman of Air France-KLM. “Working with Etihad Airways and airberlin allows us to offer our customers a range of new attractive destinations. It is an important move, as the networks from our hubs Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol will be enriched and our customers will have more choice now with a new and premium partner like Etihad Airways.”
Etihad’s President & CEO, James Hogan, said the deal formed part of the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s strategy of “forging of strategic codeshare partnerships and minority equity investments in other airlines”.
“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. This year to-date, they are providing 18% of our revenues and will be a major contributor to our sustained profitability growth this year and into the future,” Hogan stated.
Air France-KLM is the world’s eighth largest airline group in terms of passenger traffic, having boarded 75.8 million people in 2011. The new deal is the 40th codeshare arrangement for Etihad, which owns stakes in Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles as well as airberlin.
The announcement came as Etihad posted a sharp rise in passenger traffic for the third quarter of the year. The Abu Dhabi-based airline boarded 2.79 million passengers in the three months to 30 September 2012 – 23% more than the 2.27m it carried in the same period last year. This rise outpaced the 20% increase in available seat capacity, pushing cabin load factors up to 81.2%.