Emirates and flydubai to work more closely together

Ruben Hill
July 17, 2017

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. The airlines estimate that will grow to 240 destinations by 2022, when the combined fleet will have expanded to 380 aircraft.

The new partnership will include joint network planning, coordinated schedules and the frequent flyer programmes will be aligned though both airlines will remain independently managed, the joint statement said.

"This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation", said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group and the chairman of flydubai.

The partnership will also mean greater integration between the airlines' existing hubs at Dubai International, where Emirates now operates from its own dedicated Terminal 3, and flydubai mainly operates from Terminal 2.

Emirates suffered a 70 percent drop in profit in the year ended March 31 as the low price of crude clipped growth in oil-based Persian Gulf economies, terrorist attacks hurt demand for travel and the company faced USA -imposed travel restrictions.

Both Emirates and flydubai are owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

"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.

FlyDubai also saw its profit drop 69% in 2016 and cited a "challenging socioeconomic environment".

Meanwhile flydubai, which operates 58 Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations, has focused mainly on regional destinations throughout the Middle East, India, Southern Europe and Eastern Africa.

"This partnership isn't about savings, it's about extracting commercial value by leveraging the strengths of both companies to accelerate growth", representatives from the airlines said.

The partnership will be rolled out over the coming months, with the first code-sharing arrangements starting in the last quarter of 2017, the airlines said.

The airline's networks overlap to an extent but, between them, the carriers operate to 216 cities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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