Dubai’s Emirates airline has announced an “extensive partnership” agreement with its sister low-cost airline flydubai, opening up a combined network of 216 destinations, as Gulf carriers adapt to a slowdown in the region.
With Gulf airlines facing economic headwinds, the two state-owned carriers said the tie-up would give flydubai customers “seamless connectivity” to Emirates’ worldwide destinations.
Emirates said the partnership would be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements launching in the last quarter of this year. The two airlines, which will continue to operate independently, will align systems and operations at their Dubai hub.
Emirates operates 259 wide-body aircraft to 157 destinations; flydubai operates 58 Boeing 737s to 95 destinations. By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations with a combined fleet of 380 aircraft.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chief executive of Emirates Group and chairman of flydubai, said:
Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock the immense value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai.