Emirates, Etihad Agree Interline Expansion
Airlines Airports Routes

Emirates, Etihad Agree Interline Expansion

DALLAS Emirates (EK) and Etihad (EY) have come together to bring about a first-of-a-kind interline agreement to make travel to and from the UAE’s two main gateway airports easier. The Memorandum of understanding was signed at the Arabian Travel Market event in Dubai.

In simple terms, come summer, passengers of either of the two airlines can purchase a ticket to Dubai (DXB) or Abu Dhabi (AUH) and get on a return flight from the other. This is a massive effort to boost tourism in the nation’s two largest cities.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai sit 130 kilometers apart, with options as of today being a lengthy bus ride of a couple of hours and the quicker alternative – a cab ride. Only a one-way shuttle would be needed with the new interline, thus saving travel, time, and costs.

Emirates A380. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.

Comments from the Two Airline Bosses

EK President Sir Tim Clark said, “We are pleased to be working again with Etihad Airways – this time to allow each carrier to offer a new range of seamless travel options in and out of the UAE. Emirates and Etihad are leveraging on our strengths to expand our respective customer offerings and boost UAE tourism. 

“We believe this new agreement provides a strong foundation to develop further opportunities between both airlines and is an example of our commitment to the UAE’s vision for continued economic diversification.”

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, added, “We’re delighted to partner with Emirates in our shared mission to support inbound tourism to the UAE and facilitate travel to our vibrant cities. 

“With two world-class airlines supporting UAE tourism, our interline agreement will make it more convenient for our guests to experience the best of Abu Dhabi and Dubai on one single ticket while promising to deliver an exceptional flying experience whether they fly with Etihad Airways or Emirates. It’s a win-win proposition for travellers to the UAE.”

Etihad Boeing 777. Photo: Airways/ Alberto Cucini

Country First

Until now, the two carriers have been portrayed as fierce competitors and have worked together only once, back in 2018, involving Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group (EAG). This saw a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed to strengthen aviation security, including sharing information and intelligence in operational areas both within and outside the UAE.

But the inking of today’s deal makes it clear that tourism in the UAE is a key priority, and getting both flag carriers working together is the best solution moving forward. Tourism remains a strong pillar of the UAE economy and is expected to support over a million jobs by 2027 and contribute to 5.4% of the nation’s total GDP. It is being heavily promoted by the UAE government to “enhance the UAE’s position as a preferred global destination.”

Is this the first of many more airlines partnering up to strengthen a nation’s tourism?

Featured Image: Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand their interline agreement and provide travellers additional itinerary options when visiting the UAE. Photo: Emirates.

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