Once ‘enemies’, United and Emirates announce broad partnership

Carriers closed a commercial agreement this Wednesday that will allow their passengers to have access to hundreds of destinations around the world.

United Airlines and Emirates Airline announced a landmark partnership that promises to shake up the US air travel market.

Starting in November, Emirates passengers arriving in the US via United hubs in Chicago, San Francisco and Houston will be able to travel to nearly 200 destinations.

As of March 2023, the US airline will return to the United Arab Emirates after six years on the Newark-Dubai route. From there, your passengers will be able to use the services of Emirates and its affiliate flyDubai to dozens of destinations around the world.

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The commercial agreement was signed at Dulles Airport, in Washington, with the presence of two Boeing 777s from the companies and also Emirates President Sir Tim Clark and United CEO Scott Kirby.

“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,” said Sir Tim Clark.

“This agreement unites two iconic, flag carriers airlines who share a common commitment to creating the best customer experience in the skies. United’s new flight to Dubai and our complementary networks will make global travel easier for millions of our customers, helping boost local economies and strengthen cultural ties,” said Scott Kirby.

Scott Kirby (United) and Sir Tim Clark (Emirates)

‘Enemies’ in the past

The announcement of the partnership comes years after a legal dispute between the big three US carriers against Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad.

In 2015, United, American and Delta complained to the US government about unfair competition from their Persian Gulf rivals, which received billions of dollars in subsidies and artificially lowered tariffs.

The three US airlines also asked for the end of the “Fifth freedom” right, which allowed Emirates, Qatar and Etihad to sell air tickets for intermediate flights to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Three years later, the governments of the three countries reached an agreement to resolve the issue, however, the relationship between the airlines had never returned to normal until now.

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