ABU DHABI, UAE and MONTREAL, QC, April 25, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Etihad Airways and Air Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a commercial cooperation agreement that will enhance travel services between the United Arab Emirates and Canada.
While the two carriers currently have interline agreements in place for passenger and cargo services, Etihad Airways and Air Canada intend to offer customers through-checked bags, reciprocal codeshare services and frequent flyer benefits.
The MoU provides for reciprocal codeshare services to Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub and select points in North America served by Air Canada via its Toronto hub. The two parties have commenced discussions to finalize details with the objective of introducing codeshare services in the third quarter of 2013.
The agreement will also allow frequent flyer mileage accrual on codeshare flights by members of Etihad Guest and Aeroplan programs and reciprocal premium lounge access at Toronto and Abu Dhabi airports for eligible passengers of both airlines.
This announcement follows the recent decision by the Governments of the UAE and Canada to restore the previous visa regime which means Canadian nationals can once again obtain a free visa on arrival in the UAE.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "This is without doubt a significant development in the relationship between Etihad Airways and Air Canada and very much supports the aim to simplify travel between the United Arab Emirates and Canada.
"The benefits contained within the agreement give Etihad Airways and Air Canada passengers far greater choice, flexibility and convenience and will greatly enhance business and leisure travel between the UAE and Canada and feed passengers onto each other's flight networks."
The UAE is Canada's largest merchandise export market in the Middle East region and more than 40,000 Canadians reside in the UAE. Furthermore approximately 150 Canadian companies are based in the UAE.
Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada's President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are pleased to establish a mutually beneficial commercial cooperation that will provide our customers with more travel options and frequent flyer benefits. We look forward to introducing Air Canada codeshare service on Etihad Airways' flights to Abu Dhabi, via Toronto and London Heathrow, and welcoming their customers on Air Canada in the near future."
Subject to regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on Air Canada flights between Toronto and select North American points.
In return, Air Canada will place its AC code on Etihad Airways' non-stop services between Toronto and Abu Dhabi, as well as Etihad Airways' flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways and Air Canada will also work together to enhance cargo services into and out of Abu Dhabi and Toronto, and beyond on each other's networks.
About Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2012 carried 10.3 million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways serves 88 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 73 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and over 90 aircraft on firm order, including 10 Airbus A380s, the world's largest passenger aircraft. Etihad Airways also holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus. For more information, please visit: www.etihad.com.
About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 175 destinations on five continents. Canada's flag carrier is the 15th largest commercial airline in the world and in 2012 served close to 35 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 59 Canadian cities, 51 destinations in the United States and 67 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,329 destinations in 194 countries. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax that ranked Air Canada in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers as Best International Airline in North America in 2012 for the third consecutive year. For more information, please visit: www.aircanada.com.
SOURCE Air Canada