Etihad Airways has announced the expansion of its partnership with AccesRail, the world’s leading provider of air-rail intermodal solutions.
The partnership allows Etihad to use AccesRail's expertise to enable its customers to book train and coach tickets in Europe in conjunction with their air fare using the airline’s online booking platform, or through their travel agency, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.
Etihad’s guests can connect to and from their international flights to rail routes operated by major European railway companies using the airline’s ‘EY’ code. It includes an expanded network of seven rail routes on Germany’s Deutsche Bahn from Frankfurt Main Airport.
The partnership with AccesRail has also been extended to the United Kingdom to include 16 destinations westbound from London Heathrow on Great Western Railway, and subject to final government approval, to 28 cities across Italy on the country’s primary rail operator, Trenitalia.
The expansion will also see additional inter-city coach services in the United Kingdom operated by National Express to 28 major British towns and cities from London Heathrow, and five from Manchester Airport.
Commenting on the partnership, Ali Saleh, Vice President, Alliances and Partnerships at Etihad Airways, said, "This is a tremendous product, which provides convenient rail or coach connections at some of our key gateways in Europe, enabling customers to commence their Etihad journey from multiple domestic points with the best fares available, all on the same itinerary and ticket.
"As we aim to personalise the guest experience in-flight by providing more choice and greater customisation, we continue to source more strategic partnerships which will mirror this on the ground, giving options and benefits to the many who choose to travel with us in Europe. We soon hope to expand the partnership with AccesRail to more continents."
Etihad Airways has operated a similar agreement with France’s SNCF, providing codeshare services to 20 destinations on the French domestic rail network from the airline’s Paris gateway.
For his part, Andrew Popescu, Vice President Business Development of AccesRail, said: "We are excited to be deepening our Etihad-AccesRail cooperation and look forward to continuing with Etihad on a global scale. Through this enhanced AccesRail partnership, Etihad will be able, now and in the future, to offer its customers more destinations and more possibilities."
In operation for more than 20 years, Montreal-headquartered AccesRail is present on most global distribution system, GDS, and partnering with major rail companies in Europe, USA, Canada, Korea, and Japan, making it possible for customers to book and purchase air and rail travel on the same itinerary.