The teams at Etihad Guest and El Al Matmid loyalty programmes will explore reciprocal “earn and burn” opportunities for its members
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, and El Al Israel Airlines, the national carrier of Israel, signed an MoU on Thursday, November 19, to explore areas of cooperation including codeshare services and frequent flyer programmes.
The MoU seeks to introduce joint codeshare services between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, as well as on the global flight networks beyond the two carriers’ hubs.
The MOU also outlines plans for greater commercial cooperation in cargo, engineering, loyalty, destination management and also the optimal use of pilot and cabin crew training facilities, said a joint statement issued by the two airlines.
In addition to codeshare operations, the teams at Etihad Guest and El Al Matmid loyalty programmes will explore reciprocal “earn and burn” opportunities for its members.
The airlines’ destination management teams will also collaborate to encourage two-way inbound tourism to Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv.
The engineering and cargo divisions of both carriers will also discuss avenues for greater cooperation. These will include optimising MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) opportunities, as well as ways to increase volumes of freighter traffic flowing into and out of Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, and across the carriers’ combined networks.
“Following El Al’s historic flight to Abu Dhabi, the first ever flight between Israel and the UAE, this MOU is the foundation of what we envision will be a strong ongoing relationship between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv,” said Tony Douglas, group CEO at Etihad Aviation Group. “We look forward to examining ways in which the two flag carriers – Etihad and EL AL – can work more closely together to improve business operations and enhance the experience for our guests.”
“Following the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, we have been provided a great opportunity to examine the possibility of cooperation with Etihad Airways,” added Gonen Usishkin, CEO at El Al Israel Airlines. “This MoU is only the start and we believe that together, the two flag carriers will be able to provide our mutual customers with the best possible product and service.”
Etihad became the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel last month.
It has also become the first non-Israeli airline in the Middle East to launch a dedicated website for the Israeli market in Hebrew. The site can be viewed in Hebrew (www.etihad.com/he-il) as well as English (www.etihad.com/en-il), and includes information about the airline’s operations, products, services and network.
The airline would launch daily scheduled year-round flights connecting Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv starting March 28, 2021.