There was an interesting piece in the Air Transport World about the remarks that the president of Emirates Mr. Tim Clark had said on a speech given at International Aviation Club in Washington this week. Mr. Clark had stated that they were in talks with two US airlines regarding code share agreements and that the talks with American Airlines had been ongoing for couple of years. Emirates already serves seven airports in the United States and has interline agreements in place with most US carriers like Delta and US airways.
Emirates and Alaska announced a frequent flier partnership on January this year and each airlines members have been able to earn both redeemable and elite qualifying miles since March 1st. Also, Emirates has had a similar agreement with JetBlu from July 1st. Thing to note here is that these are not codeshare agreements but rather just ability for both airlines fliers to earn and redeem on each other’s metal. Emirates used to have a similar agreement for earning redeemable miles on United Airlines as well, but that agreement has been terminated.
Also, Emirates and Qantas just signed a 10 year frequent flier and codeshare agreement last week where Qantas will tunnel all of their European traffic via Dubai and Emirates gets to use Qantas’ domestic network for feeding their flights out of Australia.
If American and Emirates sign a codeshare agreement, it will be American’s fourth (or fifth if El Al is included) partner in the region. Royal Jordanian, based in Amman, is a fellow Onewold member. Gulf Air, based in Bahrain, is a partner airline as is Emirates rival Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi, with whom American also has a codeshare agreement. There has been chatter about Qatar Airways joining an alliance in the near future and it well could be Oneworld due to close ties with the head of British Airways and Qatar.
It is interesting to see all these partnership that Emirates is forming with number of airlines outside an alliance. Mr. Clark has already stated that Emirates doesn’t see any reason to join any of the three worldwide alliances.
I have flown quite a bit of Emirates and have Gold status on their Skywards frequent flier program. The service both on business and first class is very good and I really like the depth and selection of the onboard entertainment system. I am not, however, huge fan of Dubai’s airport that resembles an overflowing zoo during the peak flight banks. Opening of the new terminal should easy the congestion.