Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways has entered a new codeshare partnership with China Southern Airlines – Asia’s largest airline, it announced on Thursday.
The partnership comes into effect on June 22 and increases the number of codeshare agreements operated by the Abu Dhabi-based airline to 53.
Under the agreement, China Southern Airlines will put its ‘CZ’ code on Etihad’s daily services between Beijing/Shanghai/Chengdu and Abu Dhabi.
The codeshare partnership will allow China Southern passengers to book codeshare flights to and from Abu Dhabi, and connect onto Etihad’s global network, a statement said.
Both the airlines are also planning to implement a reciprocal loyalty partnership in the “near future” to enable passengers to earn and redeem miles on each other’s flights network-wide, it said.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad’s executive vice president Commercial, said that the move forms a key component of the airline’s footprint in the China market.
“China is one of the fastest growing travel markets in the world, and one of the most competitive,” he said.
“Recent developments such as visas upon arrival will help promote the UAE and Abu Dhabi as unique business and leisure destinations,” he added.
The UAE announced last year that Chinese visitors would be granted visas on arrival in the country, which led to a rise in tourists from the Asian country this year.
Etihad has expanded its partnerships across the world and has signed codeshare deals with German airline Lufthansa, Tanzania’s Precision Air and Montenegro Airlines within the last year.
It had also revealed plans to create a new European leisure airline group in a joint venture with TUI AG, but earlier this month, pulled out of talks with the European tour operator.