MIAMI – Etihad Airways will axe its Abu Dhabi – Dallas/Fort Worth route on March 25, 2018—the same day its codeshare agreement with American Airlines (AA) ends.
The “unfortunate” decision comes after AA’s unilateral decision to end its codeshare agreement with both Etihad and Qatar Airways, making the route “commercially unsustainable,” even though the Gulf carrier expects AA to “reverse its decision” at some point in the near future.
Bankrupt Alitalia and Air Berlin—both part of Etihad’s investment portfolio—have taken a toll on Etihad’s financial books. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier announced in July losses of US$1.9 billion in 2016.
Even though Etihad’s codeshare agreement with American Airlines was fruitful, the U.S. carrier decided to cancel its relationship with both Gulf carriers because of the ongoing dispute over Open Skies agreements and alleged subsidies.
Moreover, Etihad’s service to Dallas Fort Worth was reportedly quite successful since its launch in December 2014. In fact, the three-time a week flight upgraded to daily this year in February.
According to Etihad, over 235,000 customers have flown on the route, and almost half of these connect onto U.S. codeshare flights operated by AA.
In a statement Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways CEO said, “the unfortunate decision by American Airlines to terminate a commercial relationship that benefited both carriers has left Etihad with no choice but to suspend flights between our Abu Dhabi home and Dallas/Fort Worth. We are open to American Airlines reversing its decision to cancel our codeshare agreement so that Etihad Airways can continue the route and together protect and support American national interests and global connectivity while driving commercial value for both airlines.”
Also, Baumgartner added that “the cancellation of the Dallas route is one of several adjustments that we are making to our U.S. network in 2018,” considering Etihad recently canceled service between Abu Dhabi and San Francisco as well.
“Further changes are possible as we monitor the full impact of the American Airlines codeshare cancelation on summer 2018 bookings,” he said.
According to independent research by Oxford Economics, Etihad contributed US$3.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, supporting more than 30,000 American jobs, and bringing 280,000 additional visitors to the United States.
“Etihad Airways is grateful to the state of Texas, its authorities, including the Mayor’s offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW International Airport, local businesses, the travel trade, and the traveling public for their partnership throughout the years of our operation,” Baumgartner conclude.
Etihad currently operates 42 nonstop flights per week to the five U.S. destinations: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.