Abu Dhabi's Etihad secures U.S. route-sharing deal with JetBlue

ABU DHABI Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:24am EST

Passengers wait in line at the JetBlue ticket counter at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Passengers wait in line at the JetBlue ticket counter at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts January 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways has secured a deal to share route codes with U.S. carrier JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O), it said on Wednesday, a move which extends the reach of its apparent network in the United States and nearby markets.

Unlisted Etihad will initially code-share on 40 JetBlue routes within the United States from New York and Washington, pending government approval, Etihad said in a statement.

Etihad, along with other state-backed Gulf carriers like Emirates EMIRA.UL and Qatar Airways, have pumped billions of dollars into expanding its fleet and routes, while other Western airlines have cut costs and shelved growth plans.

Once Etihad starts daily flights to Los Angeles in June further services are planned. Etihad also plans to code-share on JetBlue flights between New York and select destinations in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Colombia.

This is Etihad's second codeshare in the United States, the first being with American Airlines (AAL.O).

"The U.S. is a major and growing market for Etihad Airways and this partnership with JetBlue will enable us to offer our guests more options for travel within and beyond the U.S.," James Hogan, CEO of Etihad said in the statement.

Etihad, which flies daily to New York, Washington and Chicago, last week announced a second daily flight between Abu Dhabi and New York. Etihad plans to start flights to Los Angeles in June and Dallas Fort-Worth in December this year.

(Reporting By Stanley Carvalho; Editing by Dinesh Nair and Greg Mahlich)

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