Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, are set to explore deeper cooperation following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Bahrain International Airshow.
MOU scope includes
- Joint codeshare operations as preferred partners between
and beyond hubs
- Development of commercial agreements to enhance guest
- Coordinated Engineering and Cargo services in Abu Dhabi and
- Plans to offer reciprocal ‘earn and burn’ on frequent flyer
The wide-ranging MOU covers scope to
introduce joint codeshare operations between Abu Dhabi and Manama, as well as
on the global flight networks beyond the two carriers’ GCC hubs.
The MOU also contains plans for greater
commercial cooperation in the fields of cargo, engineering, guest experience
and the optimisation of pilot training facilities.
The MOU was signed on the first day of the
Bahrain International Airshow, currently taking place at the Sakhir Airbase, by
Mr. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, and
Mr. Krešimir Kučko, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Air.
Mr. Krešimir Kučko said: “The
relationship between Bahrain and UAE is strong in many fields including
aviation and today with the signing of this MOU we enrich the relationship by
cooperating with Etihad Airways. This is an example of how two airlines can
work hand in hand for greater mutual benefits. We are happy to work with our
friends and colleagues in Etihad and support each other to achieve bigger
Mr. Douglas said: “The deep ties between
Abu Dhabi and Manama are well-known in the aviation world and date back nearly
70 years. Therefore the natural way to build upon those ties is to examine ways
in which the two flag carriers – Etihad and Gulf Air – can work more closely
together to improve business operations and enhance the experience for our
“We look forward to the Etihad and Gulf
Air teams coming together during the next few months to look at how we can put
that in place, whether it is in codeshare, engineering, cargo, or through our
frequent flyer programmes.”
In addition to exploring codeshare
operations, the teams at Etihad Guest and Gulf Air Falconflyer loyalty programmes
will shortly begin discussions which would see members of each programme being
offered reciprocal earn and burn opportunities.
The teams in both carriers’ engineering
and cargo divisions are also set to begin talks about greater cooperation.
These discussions would look at optimising MRO (maintenance repair operations)
opportunities, as well as ways to increase volumes of freighter traffic flowing
into and out of Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
Gulf Air currently operates four return
daily flights between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi while Etihad currently operates
three return daily A320 operations between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.