“The partnership is working to optimise the networks and schedules of both airlines, to open up new city-pair connections offering consumers greater choice”, the airlines said in a joint statement.
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. They expect to be serving 240 destinations as a combined operation by 2022, with a total fleet of 380 aircraft.
The partnership unites two complementary models and will unlock “immense value”, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Group and chairman of FlyDubai.
Both Emirates and flydubai are owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
Emirates in particular has been hit by currency fluctuations, geopolitical uncertainty and U.S. travel restrictions leading it to post an 82 percent drop in profit in May, its first decline in five years.
Emirates cited fierce competition and a “relentless rise” in the United States dollar as the main factor in falling revenues.
FlyDubai also saw its profit drop 69 percent in 2016 and cited a “challenging socioeconomic environment”.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, July 17, the carriers said their partnership would extend beyond code-sharing and include integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling.
The new arrangement will allow FlyDubai passengers access to Emirates’ extensive network and enable Emirates customers access to FlyDubai’s regional network.
The airlines will also “align” their systems and operations at Dubai International airport to “ensure a seamless travel experience”.
An Emirates spokesperson declined to comment on whether plans would be hatched to construct an internal link between flydubai’s hub Terminal 2 and Emirates’ Terminal 3.
“This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation”.
Teams from Emirates and flydubai are now working on several initiatives spanning commercial, network planning, airport operations, customer journey, and frequent flyer programmes alignment. Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, flies to 157 destinations with 259 planes, while low-priced airline Flydubai reaches 95 destinations with 58 planes.