Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, have signed a Strategic Commercial Cooperation Agreement (SCCA) to deepen their partnership between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and beyond the respective hubs.
The wide-ranging SCCA, subject to obtaining applicable governmental and regulatory approvals, was signed by Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, and Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Gulf Air’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. The agreement sets out specific actions for deepening and broadening commercial cooperation, building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the airlines signed in 2018.
Tony Douglas said, “This agreement reinforces the strength of the ongoing partnership between our two airlines. We look forward to exploring pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increasingly work seamlessly between our two capitals, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travelers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs.”
Captain AlAlawi said, “Our relationship with Etihad Airways has always been strong and today we are reaching a higher level of collaboration with many more opportunities in the horizon between the national carriers of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This agreement will empower both of us to offer a more elevated experience to passengers and widen their travel options.”
The SCCA envisages a phased approach to closer collaboration between the partners. In the first phase, by June 2021, the scope of the partners’ codeshare agreement, first signed in 2019, will be significantly expanded. Etihad and Gulf Air will be able to offer up to an additional 30 combined destinations beyond the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain hubs, across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.
The partners will work together to optimize joint operations on the Abu Dhabi-Bahrain route, with improvements to network connectivity over each of the partners’ hubs. The partners will also enhance their respective offerings to premium tier customers of Etihad Guest and Falconflyer, including reciprocal lounge access at the hubs and enhanced recognition through a guest’s journey, regardless of the operating airline.
Additionally, the partners will work together to improve the customer journey on Abu Dhabi –Bahrain, making it more seamless, regardless of the operating carrier, with enhanced and harmonized policies and products in areas such as baggage and ancillaries. The 2018 MoU also provided for exploration of MRO, pilot and crew training, and cargo opportunities, which the parties will now re-visit in light of current market opportunities and company requirements.