Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have signed an historic interline and codeshare agreement which follows the UAE national airline’s recent 2.987 per cent equity purchase in the Irish carrier.
Within the agreement Etihad Airways will place its “EY” code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin , Manchester and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the British Isles, the Channel Islands, Portugal, the Netherlands and the US.
In return, Aer Lingus will place its “EI” code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, and have full access to flights across the network beyond Abu Dhabi, to points including Australia, Asia-Pacific, the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East.
In addition to the codeshare with Aer Lingus, Etihad Airways has 35 other codeshare agreements in place with airlines across the world. Codeshare partnerships, along with equity acquisitions and organic growth, form the three pillars of Etihad Airways expansion plans.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce this new codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus which will provide Etihad Airways’ customers with new travel options and flight connections to Ireland, the UK, continental Europe, and across the Atlantic to Boston and New York .
“The codeshare agreement is an early indication of the success of Etihad Airways’ strategic plan to acquire equity in Aer Lingus and other airlines and the instant benefit it brings to both airlines’ customers around the world.”
Christoph Mueller, Aer Lingus’ Chief Executive, said: “Today’s announcement supports Aer Lingus’ strategy to provide greater access and choice to our customers. We are delighted to welcome Etihad Airways on board as a codeshare partner.”
The new Etihad Airways codeshare flights will be on sale today for travel from 15 September. Some of the routes are still subject to regulatory approvals.
The Etihad Airways “EY” code will be placed on the following Aer Lingus flights:
• Between Dublin and Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kerry, Lisbon, London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester.
• Between London Heathrow and Dublin, Cork, and Shannon.
• Between Manchester and Dublin, Cork, and Shannon.
• Between Dublin and Boston and New York JFK.
Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus continue to discuss additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement.
Initially, members of the Etihad Guest loyalty program will be able to earn miles on Aer Lingus codeshare flights and further integration of frequent flyer programs is under discussion.
Etihad Airways operates 10 flights a week from Abu Dhabi to Dublin and has carried more than 817,000 passengers between the two capitals since it began flying the route in July, 2007.
The airline has a premium lounge at Dublin Airport, an engineering maintenance facility and has conducted recruitment drives across the country. It also recently renewed its hurling sponsorship of the Gaelic Athletic Association, signing a five-year deal.