UAE national carrier Etihad Airways and Bahrain flag carrier Gulf Air have strengthened their partnership by signing a Strategic Commercial Cooperation Agreement (SCCA).

The agreement was signed by Etihad Aviation Group chief executive officer Tony Douglas and Gulf Air acting chief executive officer captain Waleed AlAlawi.

It builds on the 2018 memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two companies.

As part of the agreement, the carriers will collaborate to enhance joint operations on the Abu Dhabi-Bahrain route and improve customer journey.

The partners will also improve their offerings to premium tier customers of Etihad Guest and Falconflyer.

Douglas said: “This agreement reinforces the strength of the ongoing partnership between our two airlines.

“We look forward to exploring pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increasingly work seamlessly between our two capitals, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travellers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs.”

The SCCA will be implemented in a phased manner. The agreement is subject to obtaining applicable governmental and regulatory approvals.

During the first phase, the partners will expand scope of the partners’ codeshare agreement signed in 2019.

They will also provide around 30 more combined destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.

AlAlawi said: “Our relationship with Etihad Airways has always been strong and today we are reaching a higher level of collaboration with many more opportunities in the horizon between the national carriers of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This agreement will empower both of us to offer a more elevated experience to passengers and widen their travel options.”