Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Mon June 08 2015

Etihad To Expand Codeshare Deal With Air France-KLM

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 08, 2015

Etihad To Expand Codeshare Deal With Air France-KLM

And they say politics makes strange bedfellows?

Business isn’t far behind, especially the airline industry.

Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan told Reuters News Service on Sunday that his airline has reached a tentative deal with Air France-KLM to expand its codeshare agreement, giving it access to more cities in Europe.

Ironically, officials in France and Germany earlier this year joined the big three U.S. airlines in calling for restrictions on Persian Gulf carriers and further access to European markets until they answer to charges of receiving subsidies from their respective governments.

Transport ministers from the two European Union countries said in a statement in March that they want their EU partners and the EU executive Commission "to adopt a common strategy to bring an end to these practices," according to the Associated Press, which added that Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden also supported France and Germany’s position.

According to Reuters, Kevin Knight, Etihad's chief strategy and planning officer, said in the same interview that Etihad hopes to expand its codeshare with Air France-KLM "as broadly as possible."

Etihad currently has codeshare agreements on nine Air France cities and 21 KLM cities.

American, Delta, and United Airlines have alleged that the Middle East big three of Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar airlines have received $42 billion in subsidies over a 10-year period between 2004-2014. They are asking the Obama administration to freeze all new routes to the U.S. until the situation is resolved, something it has not done. In the meantime, nary a week goes by when Emirates and Qatar aren’t announcing new U.S. destinations.

Knight, however, told Reuters that Etihad does not have plans to introduce new service to the United States for 24 months.

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