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Emirates, Etihad announce partnership

At first, the new deal will focus on attracting inbound tourists


Planning to visit the UAE soon? How about you land in Abu Dhabi, spend two weeks visiting everything all the seven emirates have to offer, and then fly out of Dubai, that too on the same ticket?

This has just been made possible after two of the country’s largest carriers – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Dubai’s Emirates – entered into an agreement that will further boost tourism in the country and at the same time enhance a tourist’s experience.

This interline agreement is the first of its kind between the two airlines, which are both on a rapid expansion spree to new destinations and have burgeoning order books ready to take on additional capacity.

“This summer, customers of each airline will be able to purchase a single ticket to fly into either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, with a seamless return via the other airport. The new agreement also provides travellers planning to explore the UAE with the flexibility of one-stop ticketing for their full journey and convenient baggage check-in,” the airlines said in a statement.

How will it work?

In the initial stages of the expanded interline, each carrier will focus on attracting visitors to the UAE by developing inbound interline traffic from select points in Europe and China. The arrangement will allow visitors to cover as much ground as possible when exploring Abu Dhabi, Dubai or any other emirate, saving time by removing the need to fly home via their arrival airport.

Customers travelling into the UAE also have the option of ‘multi-city flights’, with the choice to travel from one city on both carriers’ networks, and conveniently returning to another point served by either Emirates or Etihad.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Arabian Travel Market by Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Airways, in the presence of Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline, and Antonoaldo Neves, Etihad CEO.

Tim Clark said: “We are pleased to be working again with Etihad Airways – this time to allow each carrier to offer a new range of seamless travel options in and out of the UAE. Emirates and Etihad are leveraging on our strengths to expand our respective customer offerings and boost UAE tourism. We believe this new agreement provides a strong foundation to develop further opportunities between both airlines and is an example of our commitment to the UAE’s vision for continued economic diversification.”

Antonoaldo Neves added: “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. With two world-class airlines supporting UAE tourism, our interline agreement will make it more convenient for our guests to experience the best of Abu Dhabi and Dubai on one single ticket while promising to deliver an exceptional flying experience whether they fly with Etihad Airways or Emirates. It’s a win-win proposition for travellers to the UAE.”

Tourism push

The expanded interline partnership draws upon the commitment of both airlines to support the UAE government’s objective to promote tourism to the country and enhance its position as a preferred global destination. Tourism is one of the key pillars of the UAE economy and is expected to contribute 5.4 per cent of the nation’s total GDP, or Dh116.1 billion, supporting over one million jobs by 2027, according to figures from the Emirates Tourism Council.

Dubai welcomed 4.67 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 3.97 million tourists during the same period in 2022, a 17 per cent year-on-year growth and the city’s best Q1 performance since the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, has announced plans to attract more than 24 million visitors to the emirate by the end of 2023. The emirate received 18 million visitors in 2022, a 13 per cent increase over the previous year.

News source: Gulf News

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