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Philippine flag carrier, UAE's Etihad sign cooperation deal
Publication Date : 29-04-2014
Philippine Airlines (PAL) signed with United Arab Emirates' national airline Etihad Airways what was dubbed as a “landmark” cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening both carriers amid growing competition globally.
In a statement, PAL said the partnership would involve a “comprehensive” range of commercial benefits to the airlines and customers. Included in its scope are code-sharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, special pro rate and air pass agreements, and cargo cooperation.
The carriers, which have cooperated on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route, said the deal strengthened business and cultural ties
“This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options,” PAL president Ramon S. Ang said in the statement.
“This also comes at an opportune time for PAL, which is in the thick of a fleet modernisation and expansion program that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft,” he added.
The statement quoted Etihad AIrways president James Hogan and Ang as saying the closer partnership between the two brands would make them first choice for the more than 700,000 Filipinos who live in the UAE and who account for much of the traffic on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route each year.
“The Philippines is one of the world’s best kept secrets with great appeal to travelers from overseas. We are committed to working with the Philippine Airlines team and the Philippines tourism industry to bring more overseas visitors to their country and to increase the economic benefits of tourism,” Hogan said.
Hogan also identified the potential for both airlines to increase the volume and value of trade.
“Two-way trade between the UAE and the Philippines was valued at $1.4 billion in 2013 and the UAE is the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Closer cooperation in the cargo arena, one of Etihad Airways’ most successful divisions, has the potential for a boost to each airline’s bottom-line and to the economies of our two great nations.”
Etihad Airways launched services between Abu Dhabi and Manila with four weekly Airbus A330-200 flights in February 2006. Today, the airline offers twice-daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between the capitals. In 2013, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was the airline’s second busiest route (547,68 passengers) in its global network. The airline employs nearly 1000 Filipinos worldwide including more than 270 cabin crew and over 20 pilots.