The national carriers of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Sri Lanka, Gulf Air and SriLankan Airlines, have signed a new codeshare agreement. The deal, which went into effect on Wednesday, will allow each airline to place their code on a select group of the other’s flights, and will give customers a better selection of foreign destinations to choose from.
News of another codeshare agreement involving a Middle Eastern carrier was announced earlier this week. This time, it was Gulf Air which announced it had penned a codeshare agreement with a new partner.
In a press release published on Gulf Air’s website on Wednesday, the details of the airline’s new codeshare agreement with Sri Lankan flag carrier SriLankan Airlines were revealed.
What will the new codeshare agreement cover?
The Gulf Air-SriLankan Airlines codeshare agreement follows the prior signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two airlines.
Under the new codeshare agreement Gulf Air will gain access to SriLankan Airlines flights from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, to Bahrain.
Meanwhile, SriLankan Airlines will place its code (UL) on a number of Gulf Air flights out of Bahrain. Destinations include Athens, Larnaca in Cyprus, and Casablanca.
According to Gulf Air’s press release on the codeshare agreement, the new deal should also help strengthen the commercial ties between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Discussing the deal, SriLankan Airlines Group CEO, Vipula Gunatilleka, said:
“We are pleased to enter into this codeshare agreement with Gulf Air. It is part of SriLankan’s operational strategy to create and strengthen partnerships with airlines of global reputation in terms of quality, service and reliability and we have no doubt that SriLankan’s valued passengers will enjoy their travel with Gulf Air.”
Other codeshare agreements
While the new Gulf Air-SriLankan Airlines codeshare agreement is surely a welcome deal for both airlines, they have also been busy signing codeshare agreements with other partners.
In fact, last week SriLankan Airlines signed an updated codeshare agreement with one of Gulf Air’s Middle Eastern competitors, Qatar Airways.
These two carriers have had a codeshare agreement in place since 2016. But the new deal will add a total of 33 Qatar Airways destinations to SriLankan Airways’ offering, while Qatar Airways will get 53 destinations from its partner.
Meanwhile, Gulf Air has also been making deals with other carriers. In October Gulf Air announced it had signed a codeshare deal with KLM which gives it access to KLM’s flights from Bahrain to Amsterdam, as well as Amsterdam to Frankfurt.
It seems Gulf Air is keen to expand its offering out of the Middle East through a combination of both codeshare deals, and an increase in the number of flights the airline will be operating itself.
In particular, it looks like Europe is a market of particular interest to Gulf Air. Back in November, the carrier announced a 30% increase in flights to European destinations, increasing its current offering of six destinations within the European Union.