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What does a Codeshare Flight Mean? All You Need to Know

Airline companies introduce new business strategies that can benefit both airliners and their customers. Among these, there is one called a “codeshare flight”. If you have purchased a flight ticket through one airline carrier, surprisingly, you are to check-in at another airline’s check-in counter. If you have experienced this, it is an indication that your flight is operated by a codeshare airline carrier or an alliance carrier.

In this blog, we are going to provide you with in-depth information on what are codeshare flights and how well they play in the aviation industry and for customers.

What is a Codeshare Flight?

A codeshare is basically an agreement, generally referred to as a “codeshare agreement” or partnership between two or more commercial airline companies in order to increase their network of routes. In this agreement, a flight is operated by one airline carrier but marketed by another airline carrier in the form of a cooperative venture.

Thus, a codeshare flight is a flight that is in alliance with another airline carrier and has access to more routes without flying to those destinations by themselves. Such flights are usually operated via a designated IATA code and flight number with identical departure schedules, boarding gates, and destinations.

For example, you can purchase a flight ticket from one airline for a flight that is operated by another airline carrier, i.e., a partner airline that shares the same flight.

You will easily be able to identify such flights by simply looking at a departures information screen at airports that display flight information. Additionally, you will see the flight code on your flight ticket as well.

This business concept of codeshare agreement was first started by American Airlines and Qantas Airways by merging many of their flights thus, forming an alliance.

Types of Codeshare Agreements

There are three types of codeshare agreements. These are given as follows:

  • Parallel Operation
  • Connecting Operation
  • Unilateral Operation

(a) Parallel Operation

In parallel operation, two airline carriers operate the same route and use each other’s codes, such as the IATA code and flight number, as their own.

(b) Connecting Operation

In connecting operations, an airline carrier sells a ticket between points A and C, but it only goes to point B. So, here, the codeshare airline, which is a partner airline or alliance, flies the second leg between points B and C.

(c) Unilateral Operation

In unilateral operations, one airline carrier will not be involved in the operations in any way. Instead, it will leverage the other airline carrier’s brand in order to get passengers to fly with the carrier.

What is the Function of a Codeshare Agreement between Airlines?

When a codeshare agreement takes place between two or more airline carriers, such airlines can publish and market the same flight under their own airline designator or flight code (i.e., IATA code) and flight number as part of their published schedule or timetable. If a flight lists multiple flight codes for the same flight which is usually displayed on large monitor screens at airports, this will typically reflect the codeshare agreement.

Thus, in this alliance, the airline carrier that actually operates the flight is referred to as the “operating carrier”. The operating carrier is responsible for providing services to passengers regardless of which airline sold codeshare flight tickets. Also, when passengers check-in for their flights, they are required to approach the operating carrier’s check-in counter at the airport.

Airline carriers that sell flight tickets on other airlines as an alliance is referred to as “marketing carriers”. However, there may be cases where a marketing carrier may have multiple codeshare agreements. This is mainly to ensure that customers will get the flight service that they need.

Many passengers would prefer to stick with one marketing carrier in order to consolidate their frequent flyer miles as well as the benefits that they can avail.

Airline Carriers with Codeshare Agreements

Below are few airline carriers that have codeshare agreements with other airline carriers.

  • American Airlines and Qantas Airways
  • Ethiopian Airlines and GOL Airlines
  • Icelandair and airBaltic
  • LATAM Brazil and Azul
  • TAP Portugal and Avianca
  • LATAM and Malaysia Airlines

How can Travellers Benefit from Codeshare?

One major reason why travelers can benefit from the so-called “codeshare agreement” between airline carriers is that this partnership will allow not only an airliner but passengers as well, to gain access to a wider network of routes through one airline.

This may further help airline carriers to reduce their fleet size and minimize routes while maintaining global connectivity via partnerships with other airline carriers.


Thus, airline carriers (operating carriers and marketing or partner carriers) and travelers both can benefit from a codeshare flight. You can get to your holiday destinations and also earn miles for each trip.

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