Etihad Airways announced a codeshare agreement with Asiana Airlines, the major airline of South Korea, complementing Etihad’s own service to Seoul which commences on December 10.

The new cooperative relationship will see flights between Abu Dhabi, Seoul and beyond operating under an EY (Etihad) and OZ (Asiana) code.

The codeshare fares will be available for purchase from mid-November for departure from Etihad’s first Seoul service on December 10. The carriers also intend to commence reciprocal rewards programs, where members of each airline’s frequent flyer program can earn and redeem points on the codeshared flights.

The codeshare agreement will expand in time to additional territories across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Korea.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are excited to announce this codeshare agreement with Asiana Airlines less than two months before we commence services to Seoul. South Korea is a very important market for the United Arab Emirates, and we are confident that this relationship will increase the flow of traffic between the two countries.

“The synergy between both airlines made this codeshare a natural alliance. Both Asiana and Etihad are committed to the highest standards of operational and service excellence. We aim to offer guests from Seoul an extension of the quality they have come to expect with Asiana, as they travel west to Abu Dhabi and beyond.”

Commenting on the commercial alliance, Asiana Airlines President and CEO Young-Doo Yoon said: “I believe the Etihad-Asiana codeshare will enable our airlines to achieve greater synergies on many different fronts. Also, it will amplify benefits for all our customers in the future by broadening consumer choice through the promotion of transportation between Korea and the United Arab Emirates.”

The airlines will work to cultivate the partnership across a number of fields including sales and marketing activities, system development, interline expansion and ground handling.

Etihad Airways commences a daily return service to Seoul’s Incheon Airport from its home base in Abu Dhabi from 10 December 2010.