Etihad Airways yesterday welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) determination to re-authorise its alliance with Virgin Australia for a further five years.
The ruling will enable the airlines to continue their cooperative services on the Australia-Abu Dhabi route and beyond until 30 December 2020.
In a press release, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said the announcement was great news for the airlines and a real win for Australian travellers.
"In the first five years of the alliance, we've shaken up the competitive landscape by delivering more destinations, more capacity and an unrivalled guest experience through new, state-of-the-art aircraft and major investments in product and service innovations.
"We are two best-in-class airlines, working together to offer a superior level of comfort and service; like-minded brands committed to putting the air traveller first through innovation and a shared passion for excellence.
"Over the next five years, our focus will be on new areas of commercial cooperation with Virgin Australia and opportunities for increased public benefit."
Mr Hogan also expressed Etihad Airways gratitude to the stakeholders who had lodged submissions in favour of extending the alliance.
"Our business partners in Australia are critical to our success and I would like to thank them for their continuing support."
Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia currently offer codeshare services to 38 international destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, and to 52 destinations in Australia and Asia.
They also cooperate extensively in the areas of sales and marketing; purchasing and procurement; flight and cabin crew secondments; and offer reciprocal benefits to their frequent flyers including access to airport lounges across their combined networks.
Etihad Airways has a 25.1 per cent stake in Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH) and holds a seat on the Virgin Australia board.