Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM as part of a much larger strategic partnership between the two airlines.

The agreement will eventually see the airlines offering joint codes on destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. MEED reported earlier this month that the agreement was close to conclusion. Air France has also announced a codeshare agreement with Air Berlin, an airline in which Etihad has a 29.21 per cent stake.

Codesharing is an integral part of Etihad’s expansion strategy and the agreement has extended Etihad’s network to 321 destinations. Initially, Etihad will place its EY code on Air France flights between Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport and Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Madrid, Nice and Toulouse. The code will also be placed on KLM flights between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, Billund in Denmark, UK destinations Cardiff and Newcastle, as well as Oslo and Stavanger in Norway.  

Air France will place its AF code on Etihad Airways’ flights between Abu Dhabi, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Islamabad.

The two airlines said they expect to carry more than 85 million passengers by the end of 2012.

The new agreement follows news that Etihad has increased revenue by almost 20 per cent in the third quarter, a rise that has been partly fuelled by the airline’s codesharing business.