Emirates is eyeing increased collaboration with low-cost carrier flydubai, as it continues to streamline costs in a turbulent aviation market.
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in particular the Dubai-based airline could seek greater “synergies” in terms of aircraft fleet and routes with its sister airline flydubai.
Asked whether Emirates was considering purchasing any narrow body aircraft – particularly as competition in the budget long-haul market rises – Sheikh Ahmed said: “If we look at it from the [point of view of the] Dubai ownership of the two airlines, I have Emirates and I have flydubai.
“And between the two I have B777s, B737s and A380s. So I think we can do something there.”
He would not be drawn on the specifics of his proposal, but he conceded that the two airlines are increasingly competing with each other on routes, so greater collaboration would make sense.
He said: “Sometimes competition is healthy but sometimes we have to work on better synergies. But I cannot spell anything out.”
Emirates and flydubai already have an interline agreement in place, which allows the carriers to connect between their respective flights, but as most of Emirates’ planes are larger, wide body aircraft, its activity on many Middle Eastern and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – Russia and Eastern Europe – routes is limited.
He declined to comment on the likelihood of an entire acquisition of flydubai by Emirates, saying only: “I don’t know.”