09 Jul 2013 12:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has commenced codeshare services with South African Airways (SAA) following regulatory approval, which enables both carriers to offer codeshare and interline services to key destinations on each others’ route networks. 

Effective immediately, and under the first phase of the codeshare agreement, Etihad Airways passengers can now travel on Etihad Airways’ marketed flights from Johannesburg to four major destinations on the SAA network including: Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Codesharing on scheduled services to other key destinations, including Livingston, Lusaka, Ndola, Harare, and Victoria Falls is currently pending subject to local government approval.

In return, passengers travelling from Africa can now access SAA marketed flights on Etihad Airways scheduled service from Johannesburg to its hub in Abu Dhabi, and onwards across the airline’s fast growing global network to Bahrain, Kuwait, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Other major destinations currently pending regulatory approval include Shanghai, Singapore and Jeddah.

Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: “Increasing our reach into Southern Africa is critical in meeting the demand from growing numbers of leisure and business passengers travelling between Africa and the major emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.

“The partnership agreement with South African Airways reflects our strategy of forming alliances with airlines around the world to enhance the global reach of our network,” he said.

Manoj Papa, SAA’s acting General Manager - Commercial, added: “We are confident that the new codeshare partnership will prove extremely popular with business and leisure travellers who can now take advantage of the greater choice and seamless connectivity across our combined networks and markets.”

Phase two of a wide ranging Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in May 2013 makes provision for the two airlines to explore areas of further commercial cooperation that provide costs saving and operational efficiencies, which can be achieved through synergies and collaboration across a number of areas including reciprocal Frequent Flyer Programme participation,  ground handling, procurement and training.

Etihad Airways launched its service between the UAE and South Africa in 2005, and currently operates scheduled services to eight destinations in Africa and the Indian Ocean including: Johannesburg, Khartoum, Casablanca, Cairo, Nairobi, Lagos, Tripoli and Mahé in the Seychelles.

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