Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Aegean Airlines, Greece’s largest commercial airline.
The agreement will see Star Alliance member Aegean Airlines begin four-times weekly service between Athens and Abu Dhabi on March 30. Subject to receipt of the required regulatory approvals, Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ flight code on the new flight.
Aegean Airlines will operate its new Athens-Abu Dhabi service with 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
Beyond Athens, Etihad Airways will also place its flight code on Aegean-operated flights to 16 Greek destinations and to a further 10 cities across Europe.
In return, Aegean Airlines will offer its customers new codeshare routes between Athens and seven destinations across the Gulf region, Australia and South Africa. Aegean will also place its ‘A3′ flight code on Etihad Airways’ existing daily Airbus A320-operated service between Abu Dhabi and Athens.
News of the agreement comes just three days after Lithuanian carrier airBaltic began a codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways. This agreement is seeing airBaltic operate a four-time-weekly service between its hub at Riga and Abu Dhabi, using a leased Airbus A319.
Etihad Airways is codesharing on airBaltic’s flights between Riga and Abu Dhabi and on airBaltic flights to 15 European destinations beyond Riga.
“By partnering with Etihad Airways, Aegean gains access to the Gulf region and South Africa as well increasing connection opportunities to Australia,” says Dimitris Gerogiannis, Aegean Airlines’ managing director. Aegean will also open up points on its network to Etihad Airways customers, enhancing access to and from Greece via Abu Dhabi.
“We started daily Abu Dhabi-Athens flights in June 2009, and since then, we have experienced strong demand year on year,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer.
“The new Aegean-operated Abu Dhabi-Athens flight will complement Etihad Airways’ existing daily operation between the two cities, enhancing access between Greece and the rest of our global network,” adds Hogan. “Our customer proposition will also be further strengthened as we will soon be able to place our flight code on Aegean flights to popular Greek destinations.”
These destinations include Alexandroupolis, Chania, Chios, Heraklion, Ioannina, Kavala, Cephalonia, Corfu, Kos, Lemnos, Mykonos, Mytilene, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, and Thessaloniki.
Aegean-operated European flights that will also carry an ‘EY’ flight number include the Greek carrier’s services to Vienna, Prague, Rome, Venice, Warsaw, Bucharest, Madrid, Tirana, Sofia and Larnaca.
Meanwhile, Aegean Airlines plans to place its ‘A3’ flight code on Etihad Airways-operated flights from Abu Dhabi to Athens, Bahrain, Kuwait, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Aegean’s new Abu Dhabi-Athens flights can be booked on www.etihad.com, www.aegeanair.com, through Etihad Airways contact centers, and via travel agents. Codeshare destinations will follow pending regulatory approvals.
The Greek airline’s Athens-Abu Dhabi service will see its flight depart Athens International Airport Eliftherios Venezelos (IATA code ATH) at 7:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from March 30 and arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) at 12:30 a.m. the following morning, local time.
In the other direction, Aegean’s return flight will leave AUH at 2:00 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from March 31 and reach ATH at 6:00 a.m. local time.
Etihad Airways’ existing daily flight on the route leaves AUH at 9:10 a.m. and lands at ATH at 1:25 p.m. local time. In the other direction, its return flight departs ATH at 2:30 p.m. and gets to AUH at 8:10 p.m. local time.
Aegean expects to carry about 6.5 million passengers in 2013. It expects an additional 2 million passengers to have flown during the year on Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines’ subsidiary carrier acquired in October 2013.
The Aegean Airlines fleet consists of 30 Airbus A320-family aircraft (with an average age of 4.5 years), while Olympic operates 10 Bombardier Q400 and four Dash 8-100 turboprop regional airliners. The combined route network of the two companies in 2014 will exceed 205 international routes and more than 45 domestic routes.