With EU nations setting up protection for their national carriers, what is a new entrant to do?  Somehow, whatever beachhead is established, it has to be exploited to improve reach.  Which makes this move by Etihad so smart.

Etihad is building its presence in France with the signing of a new commercial agreement with French Railways (SNCF). The deal allows Etihad passengers to book flights beyond CDG, by connecting onward to SNCF’s 2,000 kilometre high-speed TGV rail routes, and vice-versa. The seamless air-rail connections comprise 20 cities in France including: Bordeaux, Le Mans, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Rennes and Strasbourg. The new codeshare services are on sale from today.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways CCO said: “We’ve just gone double daily to Paris, and combined with this exciting new codeshare with SNCF, it illustrates Etihad’s growing commitment to passengers travelling to and from France.  Allowing them to book tickets closer to their departure and arrival points is a fantastic proposition to our customers.  The high-speed rail infrastructure already in place, and the proven credentials of SNCF and Etihad will allow passengers a seamless travel experience through Paris CDG airport on to the TGV network and vice versa.”

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