Air Canada Aeroplan and Flydubai Announce New Partnership Air Canada Aeroplan and Flydubai Announce New Partnership

Air Canada Aeroplan and Flydubai Announce New Partnership

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It seems hardly a month goes by without Aeroplan announcing a new partnership. This time around, the new partnership is between Air Canada Aeroplan and flydubai, first announced in this press release. The new deal features a codeshare partnership and an interline arrangement. In addition, more benefits for loyalty program members are expected later this year.

Air Canada and flydubai announced a new partnership to give customers flying between Canada, the Middle East, East Africa, Indian Subcontinent and Southern Asia more convenient travel options. Credit: CNW Group/Air Canada

Commenting on the new partnership with flydubai, the Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning at Air Canada, Mark Galardo, stated:

“Air Canada is very pleased to partner with flydubai, further expanding our connectivity to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, a growing source of immigration and travel to Canada. This new partnership is a perfect complement to Air Canada's non-stop service to Dubai from Toronto and Vancouver, and growing our relationship with Emirates, flydubai's codeshare partner. Together we look forward to bringing together our networks and building a better experience for our customers.”

What Is Flydubai?

Flydubai is a low-cost carrier owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The airline operates from its base in Dubai to over 110 European, Asian, and African destinations. A glance at the flydubai route map and its diversity is clear. Destinations stretch from Milan to Pattaya and St. Petersburg to Dar Es Salam.

flydubai destinations map
Credit: flydubai

Like most low-cost carriers, flydubai operates only one aircraft type in its fleet. Currently, the airline has 76 variants of the Boeing 737 in service.

Where flydubai differs from other low-cost carriers globally is its business-class seating. While it's rare for low-cost carriers to have business-class seats, flydubai does. Significantly, these include some aircraft equipped with lie-flat seats used on longer routes. Even shorter routes feature a more spacious business product.

the interior of a plane's business-class cabin before passengers board
flydubai business class seating. Credit: flydubai

What We Know So Far

So far, the initial announcement highlighted a new codeshare deal and interline arrangement.

Codeshare agreement

Aeroplan announced that nine routes are subject to a codeshare agreement. Consequently, an Air Canada prefix would apply to these flydubai-operated routes. This codeshare agreement is pending regulatory approval. However, that should not be a significant issue.

So far, routes in the codeshare agreement include the following destinations:

  • Medina
  • Dammam
  • Bahrain
  • Jeddah
  • Muscat
  • Colombo
  • Karachi

Interline arrangement

The airlines also announced an interline arrangement helping Air Canada travelers connect seamlessly in Dubai to flights operated by flydubai. However, this agreement does not apply to all of flydubai's 110 routes. At present, it will apply only to roughly 60 routes, including:

  • Kathmandu
  • Djibouti
  • The Maldives

It's unclear why this agreement does not apply to all of flydubai's routes. However, one possibility is Aeroplan's partnership with Emirates. Air Canada may be trying to keep route overlap to a minimum to not upset its partners. In short, the idea makes sense when considering that more than 30 of the 60 advertised destinations are exclusive to flydubai and aren't served by Air Canada or its existing partners.

What To Expect Later This Year

Little detail is available as of now. However, the airlines stated that they are working towards enhanced benefits for members of each other's loyalty programs. That being said, an announcement is not expected until later this year. And there's no detail on exactly what this reciprocity would include.

What is interesting about this loyalty partnership is that flydubai uses Emirates Skywards as its loyalty program. Therefore, any agreement on shared loyalty benefits should be similar to that between Aeroplan and Emirates. So far, there are no indications about earning and redeeming points or lounge access.

Our Take

In conclusion, this new partnership makes a lot of sense for both sides. On the one hand, Air Canada now offers more options to its customers. In turn, this means they keep flying Air Canada to Dubai before connecting onwards. For flydubai and its owners (the government of the U.A.E.), the new partnership increases traffic on the airline and footfall in the country. Basically, this partnership strengthens the nation's position as a hub between West and East.

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