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The Air Franc–KLM Group and Etihad Airways signed a memorandum of understanding at the former’s headquarters in Paris, France. The new agreement builds on the initial codeshare and interline agreements signed in 2012.
The Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Air France–KLM, Angus Clarke, stated:
“I'm delighted to further develop our partnership with Etihad Airways. This 11-year collaboration is now expanding even further, as we aim to explore opportunities in maintenance and loyalty, in addition to enhancing our route network for the benefit of our customers from all around the world.”
This new agreement promises some excellent reciprocal collaboration and is welcome news to members of the airlines' loyalty programs.
What We Know So Far
- More than 40 new routes are available to book now for travel, starting from the 2023 winter season. These cover destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Australia.
- From October 29, 2023, Air France will operate a daily service from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
Obviously, the above is subject to regulatory approval by the relevant authorities.
What We Don't Know Yet
The press release teased a massive potential future collaboration between the carriers with the following statement:
“The MoU also proposes the ability for frequent flyers of both Flying Blue and Etihad Guest to earn and redeem miles with Air France, KLM, and Etihad. The airlines will also explore terminal co-location, reciprocal lounge access, and ground handling, among other initiatives.“
The above statement raises several questions that now need to be answered, including:
- How many miles will you earn for flights on the other airline?
- What are the redemption rates for partner awards?
- Will elites receive reciprocal status benefits, including lounge access?
- Which terminals could be co-located?
While the news of all these potential benefits is exciting, we will have to wait and see what the airlines come up with.
The details are thin on the ground here; however, this is still great news and can potentially be fabulous news. Potentially, Air France, KLM, and Etihad could create a deep relationship with many reciprocal benefits for flyers. Ultimately, a deep collaboration would significantly improve the value of both Flying Blue and Etihad Guest. Any development that gives you more options to earn and burn points or leverage your status for more benefits is excellent news and should be welcomed with open arms.
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