Etihad re-expands Europe footprint via closer ties with Air France-KLM

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Air France-KLM and Etihad Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at deepening their commercial and operational partnership. They plan to enhance their collaboration in passenger operations, loyalty programmes, talent development and maintenance.

The two parties are expanding their codeshare agreement and Air France is to launch daily Paris CDG-Abu Dhabi flights this winter, a route also served by Etihad (but KLM is not resuming its Amsterdam-Abu Dhabi service). The MoU also includes proposals to allow the reciprocal earning and redemption of frequent flyer miles and also to look at terminal co-location, common lounge access and ground handling.

Etihad still has the fewest direct destinations in Europe of the 'super connectors' (Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Turkish Airlines).

Historically, Etihad used codeshare and equity investment to grow its footprint, but its codeshare network has shrunk since 2019 and its equity strategy fell apart in 2018. The Air France-KLM agreement signals a more stable strategy by Etihad for re-expanding its footprint in Europe.

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