Etihad Airways halts all flights to Dallas-Fort Worth in spat with American Airlines

Etihad Airways has announced it will halt all flights to Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas next year after the US carrier American Airlines said it would terminate its codeshare with the Abu Dhabi-based airline in March.

The airline said the route would become commercially unsustainable following American Airlines’ unilateral decision to terminate its codeshare agreement with Etihad.

Gulf News reported the US carrier would also be cancelling its codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways.

American’s decision to cancel ties with Etihad and Qatar Airways reportedly stems from an ongoing dispute over the Open Skies agreements.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief executive officer, said: “The unfortunate decision by American Airlines to terminate a commercial relationship that benefited both carriers has left Etihad with no choice but to suspend flights between our Abu Dhabi home and Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We are open to American Airlines reversing its decision to cancel our codeshare agreement so that Etihad Airways can continue the route and together protect and support American national interests and global connectivity while driving commercial value for both airlines.”

“Given the extremely strong public stance that American has taken on the [issue] we have reached the conclusion that the codesharing relationships between American and these carriers no longer make sense for us,” American Airlines said in a statement published by Forbes.

Etihad Airways has invested heavily in the DFW route since its launch in December 2014. The route commenced with three flights a week and was upgraded to a daily service in February 2017. More than 235,000 travellers have flown on the route since its launch. Almost half of Etihad Airways’ DFW customers connect on US codeshare flights operated by American Airlines.

Baumgartner added: “The cancellation of the Dallas route is one of several adjustments that we are making to our US network in 2018 in order to improve system profitability. Further changes are possible as we monitor the full impact of the American Airlines codeshare cancellation on summer 2018 bookings.

“Etihad Airways is grateful to the state of Texas, its authorities, including the Mayor’s offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW International Airport, local businesses, the travel trade, and the travelling public for their partnership throughout the years of our operation.”

According to independent research by Oxford Economics, in 2016 Etihad Airways contributed US$3.8 billion to the US economy, supported more than 30,000 American jobs, and brought 280,000 additional visitors to the United States. These visitors, who travelled from growing markets historically ignored by US carriers and partners, contributed US$1.9bn to the US economy and supported an additional 22,000 American jobs.

Etihad Airways is also a major customer of widebody aircraft built by the Boeing Company, with firm orders for 71 GE-powered Boeing 787s and 25 Boeing 777Xs, both of which will support the airline’s fleet renewal programme.

All of the airline’s First Class seating, as well as The Residence on the Airbus A380, is built by US based aircraft cabin interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace, now part of Rockwell Collins.

Etihad Airways currently operates 42 non-stop flights a week to five US gateways – Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.



Paul Colston

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