Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Czech Airlines have signed a strategic agreement for future co-operation, centred around a codeshare arrangement.
As part of the new deal, the Prague-based carrier will start a four-times weekly service between Prague and Abu Dhabi from 21 September 2011 using an Airbus A319, giving access to onward flights on Etihad's network. Etihad passengers will be able to link in to Czech Airlines' central and eastern European route system.
Outlining the agreement, Czech Airlines vice-president economics Philippe Moreels said: "Czech Airlines is an important player on the European market but on a global scale it is difficult to compete without strong partners."
Etihad chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner added that the new agreement "illustrates Etihad's growing ambitions in the central and eastern Europe region". Etihad had been wanting to add Prague as one of its destinations for some time, he said.
Both airlines said the codeshare was just the first step towards deeper and more intensive future co-operation. This would involve development of new destinations from the winter 2011-12 season onward and greater co-ordination between the two airlines' timetables.