"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.
Emirates suffered a 70 percent drop in profit in the year ended March 31 as the low price of crude clipped growth in oil-based Persian Gulf economies, terrorist attacks hurt demand for travel and the company faced USA -imposed travel restrictions.
"The biggest benefit the two airlines can achieve will be to develop network complementarily, reducing some current duplication and providing new customer itineraries", independent aviation consultant John Strickland told Reuters.
The deal will include network collaboration and coordinated scheduling at Dubai International Airport, where both airlines are based, Emirates said in a statement Monday.
"The new model will give flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates' worldwide destinations spanning six continents".
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"By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft", Emirates said. "For Emirates' customers, it opens up flydubai's robust regional network", Emirates said, announcing the agreement on Jul. 17.
Emirates says the tie-up will be implemented "over the coming months", with initial "enhanced" codesharing from the fourth quarter of this year. "Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock the huge value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai".
Emirates operates 259 aircraft to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points) and flydubai has a fleet of 58 Boeing 737-800s, serving 95 destinations.
"Given the competitive profit pressure Emirates has faced due to falling prices, lower oil costs and increased airline competition, Emirates can leverage the strength of flydubai's network and dispense the need to buy their own narrow-bodies", said Saj Ahmad chief analyst at Strategic Aero Research.
While both airlines are owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), a government organization, historically the two have had very different route networks, aircraft and operating styles.