Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have signed a deal to “deepen their partnership between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi and beyond”.

The Strategic Commercial Cooperation Agreement (SCCA) aims to build on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which the airlines signed in 2018.

The partners’ codeshare agreement, first signed in 2019, will be significantly expanded by June.

Gulf Air and Etihad will be able to offer up to an additional 30 combined destinations beyond the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi hubs, across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.

They will optimise joint operations on the Bahrain-Abu Dhabi route and enhance their respective offerings to premium tier customers of Falconflyer and Etihad Guest frequent flyer programmes.

The SCCA was signed by Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Gulf Air’s acting chief executive, and Tony Douglas, group chief executive at Etihad Aviation Group.

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.

“This agreement will empower both of us to offer a more elevated experience to passengers and widen their travel options.”

Douglas added: “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.”