Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and Ireland's Aer Lingus have signed an interline and codeshare agreement following the UAE national airline’s recent purchase of a...

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Ireland’s Aer Lingus have signed an interline and codeshare agreement following the UAE national airline’s recent purchase of a 2.987 per cent shareholding in the Irish carrier.

The agreement will see Etihad Airways placing its ‘EY’ flight-designator code on Aer Lingus flights from Dublin, Manchester and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the British Isles, the Channel Islands, Portugal, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Etihad Airways' long-haul fleet includes 16 Airbus A330-200s, as well as other Airbus and Boeing types. Etihad operates A330-200s on many routes, including its service linking Abu Dhabi with Nagoya, launched on February 2, 2010

In return, Aer Lingus will place its ‘EI’ code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dublin. Aer Lingus will also have full booking access to flights across Etihad’s network beyond Abu Dhabi, to points including Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, 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.

“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,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer.

“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,” adds Hogan.

Aer Lingus Airbus A321-200 EI-CPE is photographed making its landing approach to London Heathrow Airport

The new Etihad Airways codeshare flights are now available for booking, for travel from 15 September. Some of the routes are still subject to regulatory approvals.

Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on the following Aer Lingus flights:

● Between Dublin Airport and Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kerry, Lisbon, London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester;

● Between London Heathrow Airport and Dublin, Cork, and Shannon;

● Between Manchester Airport and Dublin, Cork, and Shannon; and

● Between Dublin and Boston and New York JFK.

On December 12, 2011, Etihad Airways announced an order for 10 Boeing 787-9s and two Boeing 777 Freighters. The order will make Etihad the world’s largest airline customer of the 787-9. Etihad has a total of 41 787s on order. Pictured here are the 787-9 and 777 Freighter in Etihad livery

Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus say they are continuing to discuss additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement.

Initially, members of Etihad Airways’ 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 and an engineering maintenance facility at Dublin Airport and has conducted recruitment drives across the country.