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United Arab Emirates flag carrier Etihad Airways has increased links to Africa with the signing of a codeshare agreement with South African low-cost carrier (LCC) kulula.
The codeshare, which becomes effective Oct. 30, will see Etihad placing its EY code on flights to several kulula services from Johannesburg to the South African cities of Cape Town, Durban, George and East London.
Etihad operates into Johannesburg from its Abu Dhabi hub.
The new agreement will allow passengers to check in at Abu Dhabi for South African destinations via Johannesburg and for baggage to be transferred to connecting flights.
The codeshare will bring the number of African destinations it serves across the continent to 23 through its existing codeshare partnerships with Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc, and strategic equity partner Air Seychelles.
Gulf carriers such as Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, as well as Turkish Airlines, have been ramping up their penetration of African routes in recent years, and several African flag carriers have seen traffic start to drain away to the Middle East hubs.
“Kulula is an innovative and award-winning airline and this new codeshare agreement demonstrates Etihad Airways’ growing ambitions to strengthen our operations across Africa,” Etihad CEO Peter Baumgartner said.
“Through the agreement, kulula will give inbound passengers direct access from Johannesburg to four key destinations along South Africa’s renowned coastline, and I am certain the extended reach offered through this partnership will appeal to business and leisure travelers alike.”
Erik Venter, CEO of kulula’s parent company, Comair, welcomed the addition of Etihad to the LCC’s growing list of strategic airline partnerships and said it would be seeking “additional opportunities to expand on the relationship.”