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United Airlines and Emirates have confirmed their new extensive partnership, which will grow the presence of the US carrier in Dubai and give the Gulf airline more access to United’s US network. The codeshare partnership was expected for some weeks but confirmed during a media event on September 14 at Washington Dulles Airport. United and Emirates bury the hatchet with new partnership.

The partnership restores relations between the two airlines, which existed before through United and Continental Airlines. Relations faltered in the mid-2010s, when the US Big Three United, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines accused Emirates and other Gulf carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways of unfair competition as they benefitted from deep state pockets.

Emirates President and CEO, Sir Tim Clark, was well aware of this spat, having been around for too long to remember. But under Scott Kirby, United’s management has changed and has opened himself up for a new chapter in the relationship between the two airlines.

“This agreement unites two iconic, flag carrier airlines who share a common commitment to creating the best customer experience in the skies,” Kirby said in a joint media statement. Clark added: “Two of the biggest, and best-known airlines in the world are joining hands to fly people better to more places, at a time when travel demand is rebounding with a vengeance. It’s a significant partnership that will unlock tremendous consumer benefit and bring the United Arab Emirates and the United States even closer.”

Emirates has had a codeshare agreement with JetBlue but has said that this will be terminated at the end of October. Emirates announced a codeshare agreement with Air Canada in July.

Newark-Dubai from March

The first to benefit directly from the partnership is Emirates. Already from November, customers will be able to connect to over 200 US cities on United’s network via Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston. An interline arrangement will be in place at nine other cities that are served by Emirates: Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, New York Newark, Orlando, Seattle, and Washington.  

From March 2023, United will launch its first direct service to Dubai International Airport in many years, operating from Newark. Customers will be able to connect to the network of Emirates and its sister airline flydubai, which has a network deep into the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia.

The partnership also offers customers to earn miles on the two airlines’ frequent flyer programs, Skywards and United Mileage Plus. Booking single tickets will simplify check-in and luggage transfer, while passengers will have access to lounges.

The fine print on the agreement says that it still needs regulatory approval, but United and Emirates think that will be a formality.  

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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