Emirates & FlyDubai Announce An Extensive New Partnership

Several weeks ago I wrote about Emirates’ President, Tim Clark, was quoted as saying that he wanted to bring Emirates and FlyDubai closer together over the next 18 months. The article I referenced even made it sound like a merger was a possibility.

Both airlines are owned by the government, so there aren’t very many roadblocks in the way in terms of expanded cooperation. The airlines are complementary, even though they market themselves differently — Emirates is a full service airline, while FlyDubai is a low cost carrier.

What makes them so complementary is their fleets. Emirates’ fleet consists exclusively of widebodies (their smallest plane is a 777), while FlyDubai’s fleet consists exclusively of 737s. There are many destinations that Emirates can’t practically serve, either because the airport isn’t big enough to handle a 777, or because the demand simply isn’t there.

While a full-on merger isn’t happening (yet), Emirates and FlyDubai have announced that they’re “joining forces” and introducing an extensive partnership.

While both airlines will continue to be run independently (well, as independently as two airlines owned by the same government can be run), this new partnership consists of several things:

  • There will be an expansive codeshare agreement, schedule alignment, and network optimization
  • The frequent flyer programs will be aligned so that there’s more reciprocity

Per the press release:

The new model will give flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations spanning six continents. For Emirates’ customers, it opens up flydubai’s robust regional network.

The two airlines will also further develop their hub at Dubai International, aligning their systems and operations to ensure a seamless travel experience through the ultra-modern airport

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.

The partnership will be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements starting in the last quarter of 2017. Further details will be communicated as they become available.

This expanded cooperation between the two airlines is only logical. In the US there would be hurdles in terms of getting government approval for something like this, but since both airlines are government owned, that’s not an issue. While the airlines are stopping short of a full-on merger, it seems like they’ll be fully “aligned” so it’s almost like a merger, except they can continue to maintain their individual marketing.

FlyDubai only launched their frequent flyer program late last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they just discontinue that and use Emirates Skywards as their program going forward (or change the model so that it’s aligned to Emirates Skywards but just has a different name).

What do you make of the expanded partnership between Emirates and FlyDubai?

Comments

  1. Been really difficult getting an Emirates sponsored visa when u add a FZ(flydubai) segment to Emirates reservation. Hopefully this resolves it.

  2. They have been code sharing for years and this is a great thing they’re making this official, but with a lot of Fly Dubai flights being transferred over to DWC it will make this even more interesting.

  3. Ben, it’s appallingly easy for Emirates and flydubai to be run independently. Corporations can and often separate ownership and management, and while both airlines are ultimately owned by the same parent group, they have different CEOs, they have different strategies and they compete in different markets. Rather than blending, they currently complement each other, it would be foolish for both airlines to merge.
    For the most part, the Al Maktoums are hands off.

  4. Whenever a Fly Dubai leg was added to an emirates itinerary the price would usually skyrocket…hopefully this isn’t the case anymore!

  5. Fly Dubai in Dubai lands at the hated Terminal 2 that has no airport transfers to Terminal 1 or 3. I flew FlyDubai from Yerevan to Dubai ( good flight!) and then had to take a taxi from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 for my SQ connection

    Either they need to add seamless transfers between Terminal 2 and the others or move the airline to Terminal 3 preferably or Terminal 1

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