Have you ever booked a journey with Emirates and found that part of it was operated by flydubai? There’s a very obvious reason behind that. In fact, it’s been nearly a full year since Emirates announced the ‘new heights‘ of its partnership with low-cost carrier flydubai. So what is their partnership all about?
Codesharing since October 2017
With three years of partnership already established, both Dubai-based carriers have worked together to offer passengers more travel options as well as greater frequency and greater reach. According to Emirates, the partnership started with codeshare flights to just 29 cities. However, it has since expanded to 84.
The partnership began in October 2017 with codeshare agreements, schedule alignments and ‘network optimization’. Since the partnership began, both airlines have been managed independently.
“The partnership between Emirates and flydubai has really taken off and we are very pleased with what has been achieved. It has not only delivered tangible benefits to our collective customers, but also to both airlines in terms of the synergies that come with working closely together, for example reducing route overlaps and the realignment of schedules to common destinations,” – His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of flydubai.
Now connecting at T3 DXB
Since December 2nd, 2018 select flydubai flights have begun to operate from Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport (DXB). As Terminal 3 is the home of Emirates at DXB, the goal of this move is to improve the connection process between the two airlines.
Essentially, these smaller flydubai flights can feed the larger planes of Emirates’ fleet. Similarly, Emirates passengers can seamlessly connect to smaller flydubai services. All of this can be done with shorter connection times as passengers won’t have to travel between terminals.
In the coming months, even more flydubai flights will be departing from Terminal 3. With the exception of the approximately 18 flydubai flights leaving from Terminal 3 of DXB, the home of flydubai is at Terminal 2 of the airport.
One loyalty program
In August 2018, flydubai adopted Emirates Skywards as its loyalty program. Because of this, loyalty members earn the same currency with both airlines. This is what the Emirates website had to say about membership perks:
Members enjoy even more privileges as they move through the membership tiers – they earn bonus Miles, can use Business Class check-in desks when flying Economy Class, and enjoy extra baggage plus priority baggage delivery.
The benefits of using the same loyalty program are fairly obvious. Travelers are further encouraged to use the services of both airlines as they know they will accrue miles and status and enjoy the benefits of said status across both networks.
At the core of the partnership is the understanding that these two airlines are not competing against one another. In one way, flydubai can be seen as handling lower-demand routes in the partnership using its much smaller Boeing 737 aircraft. This allows Emirates to focus on long-haul flights and filling up its widebody jets like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380. With their forces combined, this partnership covers a wider variety of routes.
This partnership is becoming increasingly important as competition ramps up in the region. Emirates has to compete with full-service carriers like Etihad and Qatar Airways while flydubai is often seen as going head to head with Sharjah-based Air Arabia. The latter is also aligning with Etihad by forming Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. In Kuwait, Jazeera Airways is expanding, while India’s Spicejet will be forming its own UAE-based budget airline in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah.
Certainly, budget carriers partnering with legacy carriers will ensure greater survivability. This is because their networks will be able to feed connecting passengers to one another.
Have you had a combined flydubai-Emirates itinerary? Let us know how your experience was by leaving a comment!