Emirates and low-cost sister carrier flydubai entered an extensive partnership agreement to leverage each company’s network to scale up their operations and accelerate growth, without merging the management.

The partnership goes beyond code-sharing and includes integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling. The new model will give flydubai customers connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations and for Emirates’ customers, it opens up flydubai’s robust regional network.

Emirates has a wide-body fleet of 259 aircraft, flying to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points). flydubai operates 58 New-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The current combined network comprises 216 unique destination points. By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft. The two airlines will also further develop their hub at Dubai International, aligning their systems and operations.

 “This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of flydubai. “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.”

The partnership will be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements starting in the last quarter of 2017.

Both carriers are fully owned by government through the Investment Corporation of Dubai, which has been looking to place both carriers under single structure for several months now, Bloomberg accounts. 

The deepening of the relationship between Emirates and flydubai was announced on June 21, 2017 at the Paris Air Show. Tim Clark, Emirates president, then said that the changes would affect connecting flights and joint scheduling decisions.

The decision comes as the Middle East carriers are experiencing profit losses, with Emirates having just reported 70% - or $ 340 million – profit loss in the last financial year, which ended on March 31, 2017.