Etihad Airways is one of the Middle East Big 3. They are based in Abu Dhabi, and operate a global network. Etihad has been a stakeholder in various airlines. They are deeply involved with Alitalia, an airline that is on the verge of bankruptcy. Etihad also owned parts of Air Berlin, which has gone bankrupt after Etihad removed financial backing. One of their moderate successes has been Jet Airways, which they own a large stake. Etihad also has shares in Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Air Serbia. They have a global set of codeshare partners. They will soon be without a major US partner, when American ends their codeshare relationship with them. One area they have not had a very strong codeshare partnership is South America. They currently cover Brazil with GOL, but that’s the extent. Yesterday, they announced a codeshare partnership with Aerolineas Argentinas.
Why Aerolineas Argentinas?
Aerolineas Argentinas offers a robust network within the Southern Cone. They fly out of their hubs in Buenos Aires to Chile, Peru, Uruguay and within Argentina. The airline has a set of long haul flights to the Americas and Europe as well. By partnering with Etihad, Aerolineas will be able to extend the reach of their network. They will now be able to extend their footprint to Asia and Africa, via Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi.
What The Codeshare Covers:
The codeshare will cover Aerolineas’ flights from Rome and Madrid to Buenos Aires, and other destinations in Argentina. Aerolineas will place their code on Etihad’s flights from Rome and Madrid to Abu Dhabi, as well as other destinations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The airlines will begin the codeshare agreement once there is government regulatory approval.
As with any code-share, the airlines will now through check bags to the final destination. This partnership will also cover each airline to sell segments on the other, so long as they are operated as codesahres. There will also be reciprocal mileage earning and redemptions for members of Aerolineas Plus and Etihad Guest.
I think this is a good partnership for both airlines. Aerolineas will be able to take advantage of the multitude of destinations offered by Etihad, and Etihad will have means to connect passengers to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Etihad has partnerships with over 50 airlines. This makes them one of the most connected airlines in the world. They offer one of the best first class products in the world, and a very extensive network of their own. Etihad likely won’t join an airline alliance, given it lives in a very comfortable world of partnerships.
Like I mentioned before, this is a good partnership for both carriers. I am worried, however, that Etihad will have a major gap in coverage in the US. jetBlue and Alaska partner strongly with Emirates, which leaves no major network carrier to partner with Etihad. We will have to see how the airline works around this issue. More likely, American will relent on their naive and unfounded protest against the ME3. This should happen, hopefully, before the end of the agreements with both early next year. Back to Aerolineas, this will make their Aerolineas Plus program all the more valuable. I have never flown them, but for people who live in Argentina, this is wonderful news.
What do you think? Will Etihad be able to reap good benefits from this partnership? Let us know!
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H/T: Etihad Press Release
Images from Wikimedia Commons.