Major Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates will cooperate on security issues in a bid to boost traveller safety.
Emirates president Tim Clark and Etihad group chief Tony Douglas signed a memorandum Monday at the Emirates Group headquarters in Dubai to share operational information and intelligence.
The signing was billed as an historic first agreement between the airlines, both of which are based in the United Arab Emirates but are owned by separate governments and have competed fiercely.
The airlines said Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group would share information and intelligence on “critical aspects of aviation security”.
They would also work together on operational areas both within and without the UAE and Emirates would help Etihad with security training and education.
Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Emirates Group Security had built strong capabilities and expertise “to successfully navigate the complex landscape of security risks and threats in aviation”.
“Through this agreement, Emirates Group Security will collaborate with Etihad Aviation Group to share know-how and extend aviation security services in order to better handle shared challenges, which ultimately benefits travellers,” he said in a joint statement.
Etihad Aviation Group vice chairman Hamad Abdulla Al Shamsi said the partnership was important symbolically as it was strategically.
“As the national airline of the UAE, we have a responsibility to seek and develop greater collaboration with our major aviation partners in the UAE for the continued safety and convenience of millions of travellers worldwide,’’ he said.
“Security is our utmost priority and given the current sensitive climate we operate in, it should never be underestimated.”
Etihad was at the centre of an alleged Australian terror plot last year when two men unsuccessfully attempted to smuggle a device onto one of its planes in Sydney.
Police alleged an improvised explosive device was assembled under the direction of a senior figure in Islamic State in Syria with the aim of bring down the flight between Sydney and Abu Dhabi.