Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it will establish air links between the UAE and the Republic of Guinea, in West Africa, by extending its existing codeshare agreement with Royal Air Maroc, the national airline of Morocco. The expanded agreement, which came into effect this week, allows passengers to travel between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, with Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and Casablanca in Morocco, and to / from Guinea via Royal Air Maroc’s non-stop service between Casablanca and Conakry twice a week.
“An important part of our growth strategy is to offer customers access to as many global destinations as possible, whether this be organically, by opening up new routes of our own or through strategic agreements with other airlines, adding breadth and depth to our network,” said James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways.
“By expanding our cooperation with our codeshare partner Royal Air Maroc, Etihad Airways provides enhanced access to the growing flow of people and commerce between the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, the UAE, and the country’s major trading partners in Europe, North America, the Indian subcontinent and Asia,” he added.
The enhanced air links between the two capital cities of Abu Dhabi and Conakry also support recent initiatives and the growing collaboration between the UAE and the Republic of Guinea that are expected to deliver significant benefits to both economies in the future. The Republic of Guinea is of growing interest to the international business community due to its extensive mineral resources, including a third of the world's known bauxite reserves (the raw material of aluminium), of which it is the world's largest exporter. It also has large high grade iron ore deposits, as well as diamond and gold resources.
Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi-based strategic investment and development company, has recently signed an agreement for the long-term supply of bauxite to the UAE which will result in a significant contribution of US$500 million to the Guinean economy, create many new jobs for Guinean nationals, and secure the provision of a high-grade strategic resource for the growing UAE aluminum industry, now the world’s fifth largest aluminum producer.
Under the existing codeshare agreement with Royal Air Maroc, Etihad Airways passengers can fly from Abu Dhabi to Casablanca, and onwards to 11 popular destinations in North and West Africa, including Agadir, Fez, Oujda, Ouarzazate, Marrakesh and Tangier in Morroco, and Nouakchott in Mauritania, Dakar in Senegal, Bamako in Mali, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and Conakry in Guinea. In return, Royal Air Maroc offers travellers access to Etihad Airways services beyond Abu Dhabi to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Dubai.
“The expansion of our codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways to include Conakry in the Republic of Guinea further integrates our respective operations, and helps meet the growing demand for our services to and from West Africa,” said Mr Driss Benhima, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Air Maroc. “This strategic partnership will be further strengthened in the near future, and provide Royal Air Maroc passengers travelling via Casablanca with greater choice - with the extension of the codeshare agreement to include Etihad Airways operated services to key destinations in China, Australia, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.”
From its hub in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways serves eight destinations in Africa and the Indian Ocean including: Johannesburg, Khartoum, Casablanca, Cairo, Nairobi, Lagos, Tripoli and Mahé in the Seychelles. The airline currently has agreements with 41 codeshare partners, providing it with a combined passenger network of 322 destinations, more than its Middle East airline rivals.