Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand their interline arrangement to provide tourists to the UAE with new travel options. This first-of-its-kind partnership between the two UAE carriers intends to seize the potential to increase tourism to the UAE from significant source economies by allowing passengers to visit several destinations on a single itinerary.
Customers of both airlines can purchase a single ticket to travel into Dubai or Abu Dhabi, with a seamless return through the other airport, beginning this summer. The new arrangement also gives visitors wishing to visit the UAE the convenience of one-stop ticketing for their whole journey and simple baggage check-in.
Initially, each airline would concentrate on attracting visitors to the UAE by increasing inbound interline traffic from specific points in Europe and China. The ‘open jaw’ configuration will allow guests to travel as much ground as possible when seeing Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or any other emirate, saving time by eliminating the need to fly home via their arrival airport.
Customers flying into the UAE may also take advantage of multi-city flights, allowing them to travel from one airport on both airlines’ networks to another conveniently served by Emirates or Etihad.
The agreement was signed at the Arabian Travel Market by Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Chief Operating Officer, in the presence of Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines, and Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways, as well as other senior delegates.
President Sir Tim Clark said, “We are pleased to be working with Etihad Airways again – this time to allow each carrier to offer a new range of seamless travel options in and out of the UAE,” Emirates Airline stated. Emirates and Etihad combine our talents to broaden consumer offers and enhance UAE tourism. This new arrangement lays a solid platform for future potential between both airlines. It demonstrates our commitment to the UAE’s aim of continuing economic diversification.
“We’re delighted to partner with Emirates in our shared mission to support inbound tourism to the UAE and facilitate travel to our vibrant cities,” said Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways. With two world-class airlines promoting UAE tourism, our interline agreement will make it easier for our visitors to see the best of Abu Dhabi and Dubai on a single ticket while also assuring a fantastic flying experience whether they fly with Etihad Airways or Emirates. It’s a win-win situation for visitors to the UAE.”
The enhanced interline agreement is based on both airlines’ commitment to supporting the UAE government’s goal of promoting tourism to the UAE and strengthening the UAE’s status as a preferred global destination. Tourism is an important pillar of the UAE economy, accounting for 5.4% of total GDP, or AED 116.1 billion (USD 31.6 billion), sustaining over 1 million employments by 2027*.
This is the airlines’ second announcement of cooperation. Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2018 to boost aviation security, including information and intelligence exchange in operating areas within and beyond the UAE. Emirates inked an agreement with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi last year to increase visitor numbers to the UAE capital from essential source markets on the airline’s global network.
*According to figures from the Emirates Tourism Council