The flag carriers of the Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates – Czech Airlines (OK) and Etihad Airways (EY) – signed a new codeshare agreement in Prague on June 23.
As part of the new agreement Czech Airlines will launch direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Prague, and offer onward global connections through Etihad’s network. The connections include what both airlines have identified as key cities in the Middle East such as Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Bahrain and Kuwait. Furthermore, the two airlines say that destinations on the Indian subcontinent and in Asia, such as Colombo in Sri Lanka, Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta and Manila, plus Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane: “will be easily reached”.
The agreement will also allow Etihad passengers to book flights straight through to Prague and beyond to other Czech Airlines routes. Ticket sales under the new codeshare agreement began on June 24.
At a press conference attended by Airports International, Philippe Moreels, Czech Airlines’ Vice-President of Economics said: “Czech Airlines is an important player on the European market but on a global scale it is difficult to compete without strong partners. We are extremely satisfied that we have found a genuinely strong and respected partner in Etihad Airways. I believe that the announcement we are making today will serve both outbound and inbound passengers extremely well. And it is merely the first step towards deeper and more intensive cooperation in the future.”
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer said: “As the world’s leading airline, this new strategic relationship, which includes but is not limited to just a codeshare agreement, illustrates Etihad’s growing ambitions in the Central and Eastern Europe region. It opens up the beautiful city of Prague, which we have been eager to offer our customers for such a long time, and we are certain these new connections and the seamless flight experience offered jointly by Etihad and Czech Airlines, will appeal to both business and leisure travellers alike.”
Czech Airlines will inaugurate its first flight to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on 21 September 2011. The Airline will initially operate four weekly return flights to Abu Dhabi, departing from Prague every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday using Airbus A319 aircraft. With the strategic partnership and cooperation on code sharing, Czech Airlines passengers can then continue onwards with Etihad Airways with a single OK flight ticket, to Etihad’s almost 70 global destinations.
Similarly, Etihad’s passengers can travel on Czech Airlines flights to Prague’s Ruzyně airport and on to other Czech Airlines’ destinations in central and Eastern Europe. Czech Airlines says that its arrival and departure times at Abu Dhabi ensure passengers can carry on to their target destination in under three hours. The same is said to apply for Etihad transfer passengers headed for Prague from elsewhere on its network.
“The decision of Etihad Airways, the world’s leading airline, to agree this new partnership with Czech Airlines allows the development of mutually beneficial traffic flows between Prague and Abu Dhabi, and beyond to our GCC, ISC, Asia Pacific, and Australia destinations,” concluded Mr Baumgartner.
Miroslav Dvořák, President of Czech Airlines, summed up: “Thanks to the perfect harmonisation of departure and arrival times at Abu Dhabi, destinations in the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and Australia have never been as accessible from Prague as they are now. And on top of that, cooperation with Etihad Airways brings Prague closer as a tourist centre, for tens of millions of passengers from across the Etihad network.”