Emirates and flydubai join forces, announce extensive partnership agreement

Xavier Trudeau
Juillet 17, 2017

Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) and its low-priced sister carrier flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l) have unveiled an extensive partnership agreement which will build on their existing commercial ties.

Described as an "extensive partnership agreement", the airlines are joining forces so they can fly to a whopping 240 destinations using 380 aircraft by 2022 (so basically, their plan is to take over the world).

However, both airlines will continue to be managed independently with no plans for a full merger, they said.

"This new partnership will unlock the huge value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai", says Emirates Group chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum - who is also the chairman of Flydubai.

In the fiscal year 2016/2017 which ended on March 31, Emirate posted an annual profit of 340 million USA dollars, down 82.38 percent from 1.93 billion dollars last year "due to stronger dollar", said the carrier.

Emirates cited fierce competition and a "relentless rise" in the U.S. dollar as the main factor in falling revenues.

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

The innovative partnership goes beyond code-sharing and includes integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling.

Emirates operates a long-haul fleet of 259 aircraft spanning a network of 157 destinations, while Flydubai has 58 single-aisle aircraft - all Boeing 737s - and serves 95 destinations.

Flydubai passengers will have "seamless connectivity" to the Emirates long-haul network, while Emirates says it will benefit from the low-priced operator's regional service.

The two airlines operate independently, but are owned by the same entity, the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

"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.

Currently, the two carriers cover 216 destinations, with a combined fleet of 317 aircraft. It adds that the two sides are discussing various additional network and customer initiatives including frequent-flyer alignment.

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.

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