Philippine Airlines and Etihad Airways Ink Partnership Agreement

Philippine Airlines and Etihad Airways have announced that the two carriers have inked a new partnership agreement that represents a new era of cooperation. Under the memorandum of understanding, the two carriers will collaborate in code-sharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, cargo cooperation, special pro-rate and air pass agreements. 

etihad philippine airlines agreement
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
The new partnership is designed to make both carriers the first choice for the 700,000 overseas Filipino workers that currently reside in the United Arab Emirates. The Filipino migrant workers account for a large majority of the annual traffic between Manila and Abu Dhabi. 

According to James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, this is not the first time that the two carriers have cooperated. "Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines have a history of successful cooperation on the Abu Dhabi to Manila route," said Hogan. "The Memorandum of Understanding symbolises our shared commitment to growing the passenger and cargo market between the UAE and Philippines and fostering closer diplomatic, trade, and cultural ties." Philippine Airlines and Etihad first entered into a commercial agreement in October 2010 when the two carriers began code-sharing on the Manila-Abu Dhabi route.

In addition to serving the population of overseas Filipino workers, both carriers would also like to increase the number of tourists to the Philippines, especially from Europe and the Middle East. "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," said Hogan. "Closer collaboration in our home markets and in the global arena will enhance the competitiveness and appeal of our offering and deliver an unrivalled customer proposition in the UAE, in the Philippines and abroad." 

Meanwhile, Ramon Ang, President of Philippine Airlines, highlighted the expansion benefits of partnering with Etihad, a respected global carrier. "This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options," said Ang. "It 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." 

Philippine Airlines is set to retire 20 aircraft over the course of this year. The ageing aircraft will be replaced with brand new, fuel-efficient Airbus planes, that will bring down the average age of the PAL fleet to 3.5 years. As part of the re-fleeting program, Philippine Airlines will be acquiring up to 100 new aircraft. In 2012, the carrier placed a $9.5 billion order for 65 Airbus aircraft. 

The carriers are also hoping that the new partnership will help to grow not only the passenger market but the cargo market as well. The United Arab Emirates is currently the third largest trading partner of the Philippines in the Middle East. In 2013, trade between both nations amounted to $1.4 billion. 

"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," said Hogan. 

Etihad first began serving Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila with 4 weekly Airbus A330 flights to Abu Dhabi. The carrier now offers twice daily service between the two cities aboard a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. In 2013, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was the airline's second busiest route.

1 comment:

  1. For PAL's sake, I hope that this 'partnership' with Etihad (EY) is not as disastrous as pairing with Emirates (EK) has been for QANTAS (QF) in Australia.

    QF has merely given away a large chunk of its Australia - London premium business travellers to Emirates while gaining little in return. QF's international division is now a financial basket case, unable to compete with Aussie's highest in the world wages.

    PAL doesn't have that latter problem and it has the advantage that many Filipinos will continue with book with it, even on a codeshare, but PAL needs to be careful that it monitors the 'benefits' and not just incurs 'costs' from this EY arrangement.


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