Emirates, flyDubai align closer with codeshare agreement

Emirates' A380 about to land, inbound from Dubai
Emirates' A380 about to land, inbound from Dubai

The first tangible step towards closer cooperation between Emirates and FlyDubai came to fruition this week. Some 29 new destinations are now available for Emirates passengers on flydubai-operated routes across three continents. The new agreement also adjusts passengers’ inflight expectations and the Dubai connection process. These new codeshare flights go on sale 3 October for travel starting 29 October.

This is an exciting first step in unlocking the benefits of the partnership for passengers who will have the opportunity to enjoy the unique advantages each airline offers as well as greater choice and flexibility when connecting via Dubai. This is just the start and as we expand the partner network in the coming months we will open up more opportunities for our passengers to explore the world. – HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of flydubai

Travelers booking flydubai codeshare segments on an Emirates ticket will receive complimentary meals and the baggage allowance associated with the Emirate portion of the trip. This is a level of cooperation and coordination that exceeds some prior flydubai partnerships. The new arrangement also drops the minimum connect time at DXB airport to 120 minutes from the prior 180 minutes. That’s an aggressive number to hit given the need to transfer between terminals at the airport, but the group believes it is possible.

Emirates Skywards members will earn points on flydubai-operated flights booked under the EK code and also receive the additional baggage allowance benefits of their status tier.

The move comes as no surprise. Emirates and flydubai have been moving in this direction, at the instruction of their common government owner, for some time now. Emirates’ CEO Sir Tim Clark has spoken on the topic a few times in recent weeks, outlining how he plans to adjust the larger, full service operation to handle the newly blended product. Clark believes potential exists for “creating multiple classes of economy on the main deck” of the A380s to deliver that blend. After delivering that message at the beginning of September, Clark spoke to airline executives again at the end of the month, furthering the idea:

Therein lies an opportunity. We can merge the seemingly different business model. We can converge our low cost-ish product with theirs. We can supply low cost and full service on the same airplanes. That’s pretty smart, if we can make it work.

And now we know one area where those efforts will first see life.

The two airlines were interlining more than 17,000 passengers each week as of early September. With the new codeshare arrangement in place expect to see that number spike.

Also also expect to see further evolution of the passenger experience on both sides. The Emirates fleet has far more potential for change and Clark already outlined some areas to watch. Much of that depends on technology working correctly, not just shifting things on board, so plenty of opportunities for that work to still evolve.

The initial 29 codeshare destinations are:

  • Asmara (Eritrea)
  • Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Kiev Zhulyany (Ukraine)
  • Juba (South Sudan)
  • Krasnodar (Russia)
  • Samara (Russia)
  • Kazan (Russia)
  • Mineralnye Vody (Russia)
  • Odessa (Ukraine)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Rostov-on-Don (Russia)
  • Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
  • Skopje (Macedonia)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • Kuwait (Kuwait)
  • Baku  (Azerbaijan)
  • Lucknow (India)
  • Ahwaz (Iran)
  • Bandar Abbas (Iran)
  • Esfahan (Iran)
  • Lar (Iran)
  • Shiraz (Iran)
  • Najaf (Iraq)
  • Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
  • Muscat (Oman)
  • Salalah (Oman)
  • Yekaterinburg (Russia)
  • Bucharest (Romania)

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.