Philippine Airlines, Etihad Airways sign deal

Aviation Updates Philippines - Philippine Airlines and Etihad Airways signed what they call a "landmark" cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening both carriers amid growing competition globally. The Memorandum of Understanding is said to benefit more than 700,000 Filipinos living and working in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Ramon S. Ang (left), and Mr. James Hogan (right)
(PHOTO) Philippine Airlines

The landmark deal will deliver a comprehensive range of commercial benefits to the airlines and customers. The MoU includes codesharing, frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, special pro rate and air pass agreements, and cargo cooperation.

According to Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, that the MoU with Philippine Airlines was an important milestone in the long-standing relationship between the two flag carriers as well as ties between Abu Dhabi and the Philippines, adding that "Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines have a history of successful cooperation on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route."

"We are very happy to seal this partnership with Etihad, a respected global carrier. This relationship will go a long way in providing our combined customer base a much more enhanced set of travel options. This also comes at an opportune time for PAL which is in the thick of a fleet modernization and expansion program that will see the flag carrier pushing further not only into the Middle East but also on other parts of the globe using a modern fleet of aircraft," Philippine Airlines Chief Operating Officer and President, Ramon S. Ang said.

Mr. Hogan and Mr. Ang said they hoped a closer partnership between the two airlines would make them first choice for the more than 700,000 Filipinos who live in the UAE and who account for much of the traffic on the Abu Dhabi-Manila route each year.

"The Philippines is one of the world's best kept secrets with great appeal to travellers from overseas. We are committed to working with the Philippine Airlines team and the Philippines tourism industry to bring more overseas visitors to their country and to increase the economic benefits of tourism," Mr. James Hogan of Etihad Airways said.

"Two-way trade between the UAE and the Philippines was valued at $US1.4 billion in 2013 and the UAE is the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Closer cooperation in the cargo arena, one of Etihad Airways’ most successful divisions, has the potential for a boost to each airline’s bottom-line and to the economies of our two great nations."

Etihad Airways started servicing flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi with an Airbus A330-200 flying 4x a week in February 2006. Today, Etihad Airways now flies twice-daily Boeing 777-300ER flights between Manila and Abu Dhabi. In 2013, the Abu Dhabi-Manila route was the airline"s second busiest route in its global network.