Emirates and flydubai to work more closely together

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

They expect to be serving 240 destinations as a combined operation by 2022, with a total fleet of 380 aircraft.

The carriers already have an "interline" agreement, which allows passengers to catch connecting flights on either airline without checking in again, but unlike a code share such deals don't usually cover coordinated flight times, joint marketing or reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul airline, will form a partnership with low-priced sister carrier FlyDubai aimed at allowing the companies to feed passengers onto each other's flights.

"Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock the huge value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai", said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Group and chairman of flydubai.

Emirates says the airlines will still be managed independently but will "leverage" one another's networks to "scale-up operations" and speed expansion.

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Emirates in particular has been hit by currency fluctuations, geopolitical uncertainty and USA travel restrictions leading it to post an 82 percent drop in profit in May, its first decline in five years.

The low-priced carrier's CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said at the time he expected 2017 to be another "challenging year" and said the airline would remain "prudent". The new model will give flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates' worldwide destinations spanning six continents. It will be rolled out from the fourth quarter starting with enhanced code-sharing arrangements. The move means FlyDubai's regional flights will help fill Emirates jets, while the discount operator gets access to a global network of 157 destinations.

"Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years and this new partnership will unlock the huge value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline and to Dubai". Flydubai operates 58 New-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The current combined network travels to 216 destinations.

The Emirates and flydubai teams are working together on a number of initiatives spanning commercial, network planning, airport operations, customer journey, and frequent flyer programmes alignment.

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