REGIONAL airline Aer Arann yesterday made a play for a fresh passenger stream by signing a code-share agreement with Abu Dhabi airline giant Etihad.
The deal will allow Etihad's regional passengers to book one-ticket flights from Galway, Cork and the Isle of Man to Abu Dhabi.
Aer Arann will operate the Galway/Dublin or Cork/Dublin leg of the flight, while Etihad will look after the Dublin/Abu Dhabi journey.
Etihad is likely to be paid a premium for every passenger it sends Aer Arann's way, while Aer Arann is likely to be paid a fee for referring passengers to Etihad.
The Etihad deal is seen as more significant for Aer Arann than Etihad, given the airlines' relative sizes.
A spokesman for Aer Arann yesterday declined to comment on the number of extra passengers Aer Arann expects to get from the deal, saying the information was "commercially sensitive".
Aer Arann and Aer Lingus signed a similar deal last year, with the two airlines offering one-ticket flights between Cork and Aer Lingus' US destinations via Dublin.