LONDON – Etihad Airways and SAUDIA have this week announced an expanded codesharing arrangement on 12 routes across Asia and Europe.
The pair signed a deal back in October 2018 which would have flight codes placed on services between Abu Dhabi and Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh and Medina.
SAUDIA also added its code from Abu Dhabi to the likes of Ahmedabad, Belgrade, Brisbane, Chengdu, Chicago, Dusseldorf, Lagos, Melbourne, Moscow-Domodedovo, Rabat, Seychelles and Sydney.
On the other hand, Etihad had placed its code on flights to Peshawar, Multan, Port Sudan and Vienna accordingly.
With the updated deal, which is still subject to approval, SAUDIA will add its code between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, Baku, Brussels, Dublin, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Phuket, Nagoya, Tokyo and Seoul.
Commenting on the deal was Tony Douglas, the CEO of Etihad who explained the political benefits between the two countries.
“The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoy strong economic, diplomatic and cultural links, and the partnership between our two national carriers is a natural and productive extension of these ties.”
“Since announcing our partnership at this time last year, we have jointly achieved more than 53,500 passenger journeys, five times the 11,390 for the whole of 2018.”
“The increased collaboration we have announced today will deliver even more growth to both airlines, provide greater choice for our passengers and freight customers, and further strengthen the ties between our nations.”
Also commenting on the news was Director-General of SAUDIA Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser who expressed great pride in the route growth.
“Network growth and increased access to destinations provide our guests with greater flexibility and convenience. We are pleased to further enhance our collaboration with Etihad Airways and continue to support the growth in services and routes.”
This is significant news more for SAUDIA, as this is a significant expansion into its Asia strategy. Connecting to the listed destinations will mean that it can test the waters with Etihad and see whether there is any demand from that continent into Saudi Arabia.
As for Etihad, it benefits more from the political and economic links with Saudi Arabia, especially for an airline that has not been doing well financially in recent years.
Time will tell whether this will be of benefit to Etihad, but it remains clear that this represents significant growth for SAUDIA as the years pass on.