On Monday, Etihad Airways and Garuda Indonesia announced they were strengthening an existing partnership through a significant codeshare expansion. The new agreement will nearly double the number of combined services the two carriers offer beyond their respective hubs in Abu Dhabi and Jakarta. As many as 42 destinations across the Indonesian archipelago, South East Asia, the Middle East, the US, and Europe are now covered by the agreement.

Loyalty program customers of both Etihad Guest and Garuda Miles will be able to gain reciprocal miles accrual as well as redemption opportunities across the codeshare services. The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed during the B20 summit in Bali, where the G20 Heads of State and Government met over the weekend.

Beyond codesharing, Etihad and Garuda say they will explore partnerships across a wide range of areas, including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), cargo, as well as pilot and crew training.

Etihad's drive for alliance-free connectivity

In the words of Antonoaldo Neves, Group CEO of Etihad Airways, the expansion is to serve as a platform for the collaboration the two airlines envision for themselves. He further stated,

"We look forward to exploring comprehensive and pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increase collaboration, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travellers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs. This reflects Etihad’s continued drive for commercial sustainability and is part of our broader partnership strategy, which enables Etihad guests to access nearly 400 cities worldwide, in addition to Etihad’s operating network.”

Representatives of Garuda Indonesia and Etihad in Bali
Photo: Etihad Airways / Garuda Indonesia

Etihad Airways, though not a member of any airline alliance, maintains a significant number of codeshare agreements. Beyond the existing one with Garuda, which was signed in 2012, Etihad Guest members can earn miles on codeshare flights operated by 30 different carriers, including Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air France, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Avianca, China Eastern, EgyptAir, Lufthansa, Oman Air and Virgin Australia. Etihad also places its EY code on some rail services operated by Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and ACP Rail International.

Indonesia's archipelago could propel aviation recovery

Commenting on the latest partnership expansion with Etihad, Irfan Setiaputra, President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia, said,

"As a national flag carrier, it is our main focus to connect Indonesia with the world, providing a coherent relation to a wide range of diversity of nature and cultural richness throughout the archipelago. With both airlines’ extensive networks worldwide and nationally, we believe that this extended partnership will not only give added value to Garuda Indonesia’s passengers to access popular destinations across the globe, especially to the United States, Turkey and Abu Dhabi, but will also offer a range of domestic destinations, especially in the area of East Indonesia for Etihad’s passengers."

Farmer cycling past Garuda Indonesia plane
Photo: Getty Images

Setiaputra further commented on how Indonesia's geography of more than 17,000 islands makes air travel a necessity for the mobility of both people and goods, which could lead the aviation ecosystem to recover strongly after the pandemic. He went on to say,

"With more than 10 years of partnership between both airlines, we look forward to exploring the possibility to intensify the long existing partnership with Etihad not only in the network expansion strategy, but also in other promising business perspective.”

Garuda Indonesia is a member of SkyTeam. Earlier this year, the Indonesian flag carrier also launched a codeshare agreement with Etihad's co-flag carrier, Emirates, after first signing an MoU a little over a year ago.

  • Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737 MAX 8
    Photo: Kwok Ho Eddie Wong via Flickr
    Garuda Indonesia
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International
    Year Founded:
    Irfan Setiaputra
  • Etihad Boeing 787-9
    Etihad had been a significant investor in Alitalia in the years leading up to the first round of loans from the Italian government. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
    Etihad Airways
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Abu Dhabi International Airport
    Year Founded:
    Tony Douglas
    United Arab Emirates