Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and South African Airways said on Monday that they have agreed on a codesharing agreement that foresees even greater cooperation.
Under the deal, Etihad would place its “code on flights from Johannesburg to 10 South African Airways destinations” and South African would do the same for 12 routes from Abu Dhabi, they said in a joint statement.
The memorandum of understanding would allow “the two airlines to introduce a comprehensive range of codeshare and interline air services as well as explore synergy and efficiency opportunities,” said the statement.
Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said the carrier was looking to expand its African operations.
“This strategy, of working closely with partner airlines to serve secondary cities in a market, has been highly successful for Etihad Airways around the world and we look forward to build upon our already strong relationship with the team at South African Airways to extend our footprint in the strategically critical African market,” said Hogan.
The two airlines expect to jointly carry more than 20 million passengers in 2013.
The agreement allows Etihad Airways to consolidate its access to the African market. It already has similar agreements with Kenya Airways and Air Seychelles.
Etihad, which began operations in 2003, carried more than 10 million passengers in 2012.
With its 73-strong fleet, it serves 88 passenger and cargo global destinations.
Etihad also holds equity investments in Airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Jet Airways.
It posted a 200-percent rise in net profit in 2012 and a net income of $42 million last year compared with $14 million in 2011.