The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) has given its approval for the partnership between Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia to continue for a further five years.
The decision means that the two airlines will be able to continue codesharing on routes between Australia and Abu Dhabi and offer reciprocal lounge and frequent flyer benefits until 2021.
Etihad’s president & CEO, James Hogan, welcomed the decision.
“Today’s announcement by the ACCC is great news for the partnership and for Australian travellers,” Hogan said. “In its first five years, the partnership between Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia has promoted vigorous competition in the Australian travel market, increasing choice for travellers, and has generated significant benefits and increased revenue for each airline through the alignment of our operations.
“Our shared commitment to innovation and superior service delivery ensures that travellers who fly on either airline enjoy an unrivalled guest experience and access to a combined network of 89 codeshare destinations.
“Our intention over the next five years is to expand our global reach and to enhance the guest experience for our shared customers,” he added.
Under the current agreement, Etihad and Virgin Australia offer codeshare services to 39 international destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, and to 52 destinations in Australasia. They also cooperate in the areas of sales and marketing, procurement and HR.
Etihad holds a 24.2% stake in Virgin Australia and has a seat on the airline’s board.