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Is Etihad trying to expand into the US domestic air market?

JetBlue
JetBlue
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Etihad is on an expansion trip in buying stakes in airlines around the world.

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Etihad is on an expansion trip in buying stakes in airlines around the world. Now the expanding carrier based in Abu Dhabi is announcing an extensive code share agreement with US based carrier JetBlue. After Etihad already paid for an expensive promotion to introduce the US Capital Washington DC tourism product at trade shows like the Arabian Travel Market last year, is this carrier now on its way to play a perhaps major role in the US domestic air market?

JetBlue Airways, New York’s Hometown Airline, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today announced plans to begin codeshare operations and provide customers with enhanced travel options worldwide.

The agreement, which is subject to government approval, will see Etihad Airways place its “EY” code on JetBlue-operated flights, initially facilitating connections between the two airlines at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

In the first stage of the partnership, Etihad Airways will codeshare on 40 JetBlue routes within the US. Further codeshare services are planned on JetBlue flights once Etihad Airways commences daily flights to Los Angeles from June 2014. Subject to US and foreign government approval, Etihad Airways also plans to codeshare on JetBlue flights between New York and select destinations in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Colombia.

“Like JetBlue, Etihad Airways has quickly established itself as a premier brand built on excellent service and a high-quality product,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s President. “We look forward to partnering more closely with the airline and affording our customers access to some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.”

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The US is a major and growing market for Etihad Airways and this partnership with JetBlue will enable us to offer our guests more options for travel within and beyond the US.

“In addition to New York and Washington, we also fly daily to Chicago. Just last week, we also announced a second daily flight between our hub, Abu Dhabi, and New York City, and we will start flights to Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth in June and December this year.”

From its US gateways of Chicago, New York and Washington DC Etihad Airways offers connections through its Abu Dhabi hub to dozens of destinations across the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Sub-Continent, Asia and Australia.

Etihad Airways is also one of the world’s best-regarded airlines, with a focus on service and best-in-class product for all travellers, and was recently voted the World’s Leading Airline, for the fifth consecutive year, at the World Travel Awards 2013. The airline’s Diamond First Class has its own in-flight Chef; Pearl Business Class offers a specially-trained Food and Beverage Manager; and a Flying Nanny service was recently introduced to assist families travelling in all three cabins.

Customers transferring in New York or Washington to JetBlue will enjoy the award-winning airline’s signature in-flight experience with unlimited free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks plus the most legroom in economy class (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) and a variety of seatback TV and entertainment options. Later this year, JetBlue will debut Mint, the carrier’s new premium offering, featuring the longest lie-flat bed* in domestic business class and the only private suites on the New York-Los Angeles and New York-San Francisco routes.

* Based on average length/width of lie-flat beds on domestic flights operated by U.S. airlines.

Etihad Airways plans to codeshare on the following JetBlue-operated routes, subject to regulatory approvals:

Between New York/Kennedy and

· Aguadilla
· Albuquerque
· Austin
· Boston
· Buffalo
· Burbank
· Burlington
· Charleston
· Charlotte
· Chicago/O’Hare
· Denver
· Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
· Fort Myers
· Houston/Hobby
· Jacksonville
· Las Vegas
· Long Beach
· Los Angeles
· New Orleans
· Oakland
· Orlando
· Phoenix
· Ponce
· Portland (Maine)
· Portland (Oregon)
· Rochester
· Sacramento
· Salt Lake City
· San Diego
· San Francisco
· San Jose (California)
· San Juan
· Sarasota/Bradenton
· Savannah/Hilton Head (service begins February 14, 2014)
· Seattle/Tacoma
· Syracuse
· Tampa
· Washington/Dulles
· West Palm Beach

Between Washington/Dulles and

· Boston
· New York/JFK

In addition, Etihad Airways plans to codeshare on the following non-USA routes operated by JetBlue from Summer 2014, subject to US and foreign government approval:

Between New York/Kennedy and:

· Bogota, Colombia
· Montego Bay, Jamaica
· Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
· Santiago, Dominican Republic
· Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

JetBlue is a leading airline in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York City, Orlando and San Juan, carrying 30 million customers a year to 82 cities in the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America with an average of 800 daily flights. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. JetBlue’s fleet totals 194 aircraft, comprising 130 Airbus A320s, 4 A321s and 60 Embraer 190s. Upcoming destinations include Detroit, Mich.; and Savannah, Ga.; as well as Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; subject to receipt of government approval. For more information please visit JetBlue.com.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2013 carried nearly 12 million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad Airways offers flights to 102 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, with a fleet of 89 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The airline has more than 220 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 25 Boeing 777-X, 62 Airbus A350s, and 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Etihad Airways also holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Jet Airways. Subject to regulatory approvals, Etihad Airways will acquire 49 per cent of Air Serbia and 33.3 per cent of Darwin Airline in Q1 2014. For more information, please visit: www.etihad.com

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editor

Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.