An expanded commercial pact has been unveiled between Lufthansa and Etihad Aviation Group.

A previously announced codeshare agreement will pave the way for the European and Gulf carriers to explore further co-operation across a number of areas.

This includes passenger services “to improve their competitive offering globally and in the European market”.

The codeshare went on sale yesterday for flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany

The codeshare agreement will expand both carriers’ global networks, giving Lufthansa increased access to feeder markets throughout the Indian sub-continent via Abu Dhabi, while Etihad will gain access to South America through Germany.

Lufthansa will place its ‘LH’ code on Etihad Airways’ twice daily flights between its Abu Dhabi hub and both Frankfurt and Munich.

Etihad will put its ‘EY’ code on Lufthansa’s long-haul services between Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the Colombian capital of Bogota as soon as government approval is obtained.

The two airline groups also concluded a $100 million, four-year global catering agreement and a memorandum of understanding to co-operate in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Lufthansa Group signed an agreement in December with Air Berlin, in which Etihad holds a 29% stake, for the wet-lease of 38 aircraft. Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings will wet lease 33 aircraft and group carrier Austrian Airlines will take on five.

The Eurowings-Air Berlin deal will last for six years and is due to start on February 10 when the first aircraft starts operating for Eurowings.

Etihad president Jams Hogan said: “Partnerships are at the heart of our strategy and remain fundamental for us to compete effectively and efficiently in a complex and competitive global market.

“Our collaboration with one of the aviation industry’s most established and recognised brands is undoubtedly the most significant non-equity partnership with an airline we have ever announced.

“This partnership is the platform for a much wider strategic collaboration between our two organisations. It demonstrates the commitment of the Etihad Aviation Group board and Abu Dhabi to our European growth strategy.”

Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr said: “We welcome the opportunity to strengthen our co-operation with the Etihad Aviation Group. Together we can create added value for our customers and shareholders.

“Partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group fits perfectly the Lufthansa Group’s global strategy for our passenger airlines and service companies.”