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PAL, Etihad Airways forge strategic partnership to expand services.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Etihad Airways have forged a strategic partnership agreement that effectively expands their previous code-sharing agreement to include a wider array of services.

The agreement covers code-share flights, loyalty programs, airport lounges, joint sales and marketing programs, a Philippines domestic air pass, cargo, and the coordination of airport operations to provide a better guest experience at their Abu Dhabi and Manila hubs.

"This new agreement is one of the ways by which PAL hopes to further build its global network," said PAL President Ramon S. Ang adding that, under the enhanced deal, the entire Philippine market, not just Manila, will be directly linked to the global network on a major international carrier for the first time.

Ang explained that, "by harmonizing our products, we get to offer our passengers much wider and better travel options all over the world while boosting economic activity for both our countries through trade and tourism."

Etihad Airways president James Hogan said the broad scope of the commercial agreement reflected the strength of the relationship between the airlines and the close ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

"This new partnership builds on the success of our original code-share agreement and reflects the mutual respect, trust and goodwill that have built up over time - not only between the airlines but also between our governments," Hogan said.

Initially, the airline partners will place their respective 'PR' and 'EY' codes on each other's Manila-Abu Dhabi flights to operate a combined total of 19 weekly flights between the two capitals.

Etihad Airways will also place its 'EY' code on Philippine Airlines flights from Manila to 20 destinations throughout the Philippines in the first phase, increasing to 28 during 2014.

They are also developing a joint air pass scheme which will enable overseas visitors to purchase an international flight to Manila and up to three additional sectors on Philippine Airlines' domestic and Asian network.

This will enable travelers to visit more of the Philippines and provide a significant boost to the local tourism industry. The air pass is expected to go on sale by 1 September 2014.

Members of Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles Frequent Flyer Program and Etihad Airways' Guest will enjoy reciprocal loyalty program benefits including miles earn and redemption, priority check-in and boarding, baggage handling and lounge access across both networks.

The agreement also extends the use of Etihad Airways premium lounges in Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow to Philippine Airlines Business Class guests and Mabuhay Miles Million Miler, Premier Elite and Elite members when traveling on Philippine Airlines' Manila-Abu Dhabi and Manila-London Heathrow flights.

On the cargo front, the airlines have signed a letter of intent for an extensive capacity agreement based on the belly-hold of all passenger services between Abu Dhabi and Manila, as well as connecting airfreight into Africa, Australia, the Middle East and South East Asia.


Etihad Airways President-CEO James Hogan (left) and Philippine Airlines President-COO Ramon S. Ang shake hands and congratulate each other after signing the expanded partnership on July 9, 2014 in Manila (AP)
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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 11, 2014
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