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Code sharing

Code sharing is a business term used in the airline industry. Most if not all major airlines nowadays have partnerships with other airlines, so called airline alliances. Code sharing is a major reason to start such a partnership.

The term 'code' refers to the flight number that is used in flight schedules. Under a code sharing agreement participating airlines can present a common flight number for:

While obviously and importantly this paints a simpler picture to the customer, it is not only a cosmetic operation: cooperating airlines also strive to synchronize their schedules, thus making transfers between connecting flights less time consuming. This allows optimisation of the flight frequency on the route.

A lot of competition in the airline industry revolves around ticket sales (also known as 'seat booking') strategies. Travel agents have a preference for flights which provide a direct connection. Code sharing gives this impression. Computerized reservation systems (CRS) also often do not discriminate between direct flights and code sharing flights and present both before options that involve several isolate stretches run by different companies.