Etihad Airways expects a newly signed strategic commercial partnership agreement with Kenya Airways to expand significantly the UAE airline’s reach across Africa.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ flight code on Kenya Airways’ flights from Nairobi to 27 destinations throughout Africa.
As part of the reciprocal codeshare agreement, Kenya Airways will place its ‘KQ’ flight code on Etihad Airways’ daily service from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi and, subject to government approval, onwards to up to 32 destinations throughout Etihad’s global network.
Kenya Airways will also launch a new three-times-weekly service between Nairobi and Abu Dhabi in mid-summer 2013, to improve connections and service choice for passengers.
The agreement paves the way for greater collaboration between the airlines on the joint procurement of services for ground handling, line and heavy maintenance, training and cargo operations, according to Etihad Airways.
Etihad Airways says its new codeshare with Kenya Airways will complement Etihad’s existing scheduled service between Nairobi and Abu Dhabi. This provides passengers with connections of under four hours at its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport to destinations across North Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.
“The partnership agreement with Kenya Airways is in line with our strategy of forming alliances with airlines around the world to enhance our network and marketing reach,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer. “This agreement will also allow both airlines to benefit from cost savings achieved through synergies and economies of scale.”
Adds Hogan: “Last year we launched new services to Tripoli, Nairobi and Lagos, and over the last five years we have more than doubled our services to Africa, reflecting the increasing importance of the continent. During the same period we have flown nearly three million passengers between Africa and the UAE, and key destinations across our network.”
“The new codeshare partnership with Etihad Airways is a significant strengthening of the global network of both airlines, which provides more choice to all our passengers,” says Dr. Titus Naikuni, managing director and chief executive officer of Kenya Airways.
“As part of the agreement we are looking for greater collaboration and coordination on cargo operations, training and procurement opportunities which will make us more cost-efficient and customer-responsive,” adds Naikuni.
Kenya Airlines joins a growing list of airlines to have launched new services to Abu Dhabi International Airport as a direct result of Etihad Airways’ partnership strategy. These include Airberlin, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, RAK Airways (based in the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah, hence the initials in the airline’s name) and Virgin Australia.
The agreement with Kenyan Airways brings to 42 the number of airlines with which Etihad Airways codeshares. According to Etihad, the codeshare agreements creating a combined passenger network of 349 destinations, more than in any other Middle East-based airline’ network.
Etihad Airways operates its daily service from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi with two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, each seating 16 people in Pearl Business class and 120 in Coral Economy class.
Kenya Airways is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. Etihad Airways also codeshares with SkyTeam giant Air France-KLM. Additionally, Virgin Australia, in which Etihad owns an equity stake, has a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines, the biggest airline in SkyTeam.