In a significant step toward broadening their global presence and enhancing the travel experience for passengers, the Air France-KLM Group and Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This partnership, which encompasses various facets of its operations, represents a renewed commitment to delivering seamless, premium, customer-centric travel experiences.
The ceremonial signing took place at the headquarters of the Air France-KLM Group in Paris, France, signifying a momentous occasion. Angus Clarke, Chief Commercial Officer of Air France-KLM, and Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer of Etihad Airways, graced the event with their presence, underscoring the significance of this collaboration.
One of the primary objectives of this MoU is to build upon the codeshare and interline agreements that were initiated in 2012 between Air France-KLM and Etihad Airways. As an initial step, the partnership has introduced over 40 new routes that can now be booked, encompassing destinations spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Australia. Travel on these routes will commence as early as the winter season of 2023. This expansion opens up a plethora of possibilities for travelers, providing them with a wider array of choices and greater convenience.
One of the most exciting aspects of this partnership is the opportunity for frequent flyers enrolled in both Flying Blue (Air France-KLM’s loyalty program) and Etihad Guest (Etihad Airways’ loyalty program) to accumulate and redeem miles when traveling with Air France, KLM, and Etihad. This is a significant win for loyal customers who can now enjoy enhanced benefits and rewards as they journey.
Furthermore, the airlines are exploring the feasibility of terminal co-location, reciprocal lounge access, and ground handling services. These initiatives are aimed at enhancing the overall airport experience for passengers, making their travels more seamless and enjoyable.
Etihad Airways, renowned for its daily flights connecting Abu Dhabi International Airport to both Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, is set to bolster its presence even further. Starting on October 29, 2023, Air France will commence daily flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. This development will enhance connectivity between Europe and the United Arab Emirates, offering travelers a greater range of options and convenience.
Angus Clarke, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Air France-KLM expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, emphasizing the potential benefits for customers worldwide. He noted that this collaboration extends beyond just routes and seeks to explore opportunities in maintenance and loyalty, offering a more comprehensive travel experience.
Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer at Etihad, echoed this sentiment, underscoring their shared vision of creating premium journeys for their guests. He emphasized that this MoU builds upon their existing partnership, enhancing network connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Paris while leveraging Air France-KLM’s extensive European and global network.
This collaboration also aligns with Air France-KLM’s commitment to strengthening connectivity between Europe and Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year, the airline group signed an MoU with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism, further solidifying their dedication to promoting cultural and economic growth in the region.