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07th May, 2013.
James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways and Nico Bezuidenhout, Acting Chief Executive Officer, South African Airways (Photo: emirates247.com)

South African Airways and Etihad Airways forge strategic partnership

South African Airways (SAA) and Etihad Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) allowing the two airlines to introduce a comprehensive range of codeshare and interline air services as well as exploration of synergy and efficiency opportunities.

Initially South African Airways will place its 'SA' code on 12 Etihad Airways destinations flying from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier's Abu Dhabi home-base.

Additional cities in the Middle East, Asia and India will be added as the necessary approvals are secured.

In return Etihad Airways will place its 'EY' code on flights from Johannesburg to 10 SAA destinations across South Africa, Africa and South America.

The agreement also provides for passengers to earn and redeem miles through the two airlines' frequent flyer programs.

Tim Clyde-Smith, South African Airway's Country Manager for Australasia said the new commercial agreement will give SAA access to the majority of Etihad Airways' global markets.

"We are delighted at this opportunity to explore and build upon the commercial areas of the agreement which are fundamental to any modern airline partnership. This partnership provides our customers with seamless access to 12 key destinations in the Middle East and beyond from Africa and will broaden our network through alliances and strategic partnerships that reflect our long-term business strategy", Tim said.

"This move aligns with SAA's strategy to build its global network with strong global and regional partners and to continue to develop our reach to meet customers’ increasingly diverse needs", he said.

The first phase of the agreement will see the 'SA' code placed on the Etihad Airways flights between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi, as well as on flights to 12 cities on Etihad Airways' worldwide network that includes destinations in the Middle East, and South America.

Etihad Airways will place its 'EY' code on South African Airways' flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, as well as to Livingstone, Lusaka and Ndola in Zambia and Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Outside the African continent Etihad Airways will place its code on SAA flights to Sao Paulo. Collectively, the two airline groups expect to carry more than 20 million passengers in 2013.

Source: eTN

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