September 9, 2020
The Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas has announced a codeshare agreement with Ethiopian Airlines Group connecting South America and Africa. Also, both companies expect to sign a Frequent Flyer agreement soon. What does this mean for the passengers?
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines and GOL Linhas Aereas signed a codeshare agreement. Photo: Getty Images
What do we know about the codeshare agreement?
In a press release, seen by Simple Flying, GOL said that Ethiopian could sell flights from its hub in Addis Ababa to Sao Paulo and “connect all the destinations in our route map.”
Ethiopian Airlines now has 34 codeshare agreements, according to its website. Rwanda Air Express, Air China, Air India, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Lufthansa, Azul Linhas Aereas, Alitalia, Air Canada, and many more are among the carriers Ethiopian has a codeshare agreement. Meanwhile, GOL has several codeshare agreements, including one with American Airlines signed recently.
Randall Saenz Aguero, Alliance Director at GOL, said,
“With GOL, as the airline leader in Brazil, and Ethiopian together, we can increase South America and Africa’s connectivity. We are increasing the offer to our corporate and leisure clients, taking into account both companies’ destinations.”
Meanwhile, Busera Aswel, vice-president of Strategic Planning and Alliances at Ethiopian, said that the codeshare agreement will open up Africa’s and Middle East’s connectivity with South America.
What about the Frequent Flyer agreement?
In the statement published by both companies, there was not much information regarding the Frequent Flyer program. GOL said,
“Soon, both companies will implement a Frequent Flyer Agreement, which will allow the members of our fidelity programs Smiles and Sheba Miles to earn and use miles on flights operated by both companies.”
While the airlines didn’t give a start date, it seems like it has already started. Smiles website already has Ethiopian Airlines as one of its associated airlines. Smiles says that passengers can exchange tickets to destinations like Bangkok, New Delhi, Tokyo, and Singapore.
Other associated airlines of Smiles are American Airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Alitalia, Aeromexico, Air France, KLM, Qatar Airways, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Air Europa, Delta, Air Canada, Emirates, TAP Portugal, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, and Royal Air Maroc.
Meanwhile, some airline partners of Sheba Miles are Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Avianca, Copa Airlines, and more.
What does this mean for the carriers?
We often hear about airlines inking codeshare agreements. But why are these agreements important? They allow carriers to publish and market the same flight as part of their schedule. The history of codeshare agreements dates back to 1989, with Qantas and American Airlines.
Codeshare agreements will also allow airlines to have a larger network and seasonal expansion. This will be particularly important in the post-COVID-19 era as airlines shrink. For instance, GOL could reduce its fleet by a third and has no connectivity to places like Africa. Therefore, the alliance with Ethiopian allows the Brazilian airline to connect with sites it couldn’t fly with its current fleet.
Ethiopian also gains access to one of the few markets in which it still doesn’t have much presence: Latin America.