Fiji Airways has signed a major new agreement with Etihad Airways that will see the two carriers interline on routes spanning five continents.
While the specific terms of the agreement are still to be negotiated, the airlines revealed that the deal will encompass reciprocal sales on routes connecting Fiji with 12 cities in Europe, 17 in the Middle East, five in Africa, five in North America, 29 cities in Asia and three destinations in Australia.
“We are proud to be part of the global Etihad Airways network and this partnership will help us to put Fiji on the map in countries where we had no presence before,” said Stefan Pichler, managing director & CEO of Fiji Airways. “Etihad Airways will help us to reach out for new customers and to diversify tourism streams for our country. It is definitely a major step for Fiji Airways.”
Meanwhile Etihad’s president & CEO, James Hogan, said the agreement “connects the outer South Pacific Islands to our network, which creates more opportunities for our worldwide sales force”.
Fiji Airways already has codeshare agreements in place with several carriers, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Air New Zealand. But the latest deal, potentially offering a series of one-stop connections from Abu Dhabi, is expected to significantly extend the airline’s reach, and expand Fiji’s tourism catchment area.
“This opens up a whole new lucrative market for our tourism industry, enabling us to attract affluent visitors from Abu Dhabi – Etihad’s base – the other Gulf States, the rest of the Middle East and beyond,” said Fiji’s minister of tourism, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
For Etihad, this latest deal continues its long-standing strategy of developing its own global network of alliance partners. The UAE national carrier airline already holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, although there are no suggestions at this stage that Etihad will make a financial investment in Fiji’s national carrier.
Fiji Airways has recently completed a major rebranding process, which has seen it change its name from Air Pacific, revamp its fleet and adopt a brand new livery.