Emirates and flydubai join forces with new partnership agreement

Tailfins of Emirates and Flydubai

Tailfins of Emirates and Flydubai

Dubai's government-controlled Emirates Airline, the global carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said here on Monday it agreed with budget carrier flydubai to expand their codeshare agreement and align their frequent flyer programs.

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.

Although it said both carriers would continue to be managed independently, the partnership will see the pair collaborate on networks and co-ordinate schedules to offer passengers greater connectivity between the two. The airlines estimate that will grow to 240 destinations by 2022, when the combined fleet will have expanded to 380 aircraft.

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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 partnership will go "beyond code-sharing and include integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling", said the carrier. "For Emirates' customers, it opens up flydubai's robust regional network", Emirates said, announcing the agreement on Jul. 17.

The two airlines will also further develop their hub at Dubai International Airport, known as DXB, aligning their systems and operations "to ensure a seamless travel experience through the airport".

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"Over the past years FlyDubai has gradually encroached on Emirates' market, both in terms of serving overlapping routes and upgrading its product by moving away from the strict low cost model", Pistik said.

Emirates now operates an all-widebody fleet of 259 aircraft, flying to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points), while flydubai operates 58 narrowbody Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations.

It will be rolled out from the fourth quarter starting with enhanced code-sharing arrangements.

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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. Together, the two carriers fly to 216 unique destinations, although this will increase under the partnership.

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