United, Emirates Seek Approval For Codeshare Plans

The initial phase of the codeshare partnership covers nearly 300 routes from Chicago O’Hare, Dubai, Houston and San Francisco.

Credit: Joe Pries

United Airlines and Emirates have applied to the US Transportation Department (DOT) to implement their planned codeshare partnership.

Documents filed with the government agency show that the first phase of the agreement covers almost 300 routes.

United intends to place its UA code on Emirates-operated flights to 27 destinations beyond Dubai (DXB), including Addis Ababa (ADD), Jeddah (JED) and Muscat (MCT).

In turn, Emirates will place its EK code on 272 routes operated by United and United Express, including 126 from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and 83 from Houston George Bush (IAH). The remaining services are from San Francisco (SFO).

The one-time foes announced in September an intention to begin working together, with Emirates President Tim Clark expressing hopes that the cooperation could evolve into a joint venture similar to its relationship with Australia’s Qantas. 

As part of the deal, United also unveiled plans to start flights to Emirates’ hub in Dubai from Newark Liberty (EWR) at the start of the northern summer 2023 season. Daily service will begin on March 25 using Boeing 777 aircraft.

In documents filed with the DOT, United and Emirates outlined that the first phase of their codeshare cooperation would cover 299 routes. However, the airlines have requested blanket authorization between the US, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and beyond.

A supporting statement said: “Granting this application is in the public interest because it will provide substantial consumer benefits by enhancing the service options available to the US traveling public for travel between the US, UAE, and points beyond.

“United will be able to offer convenient additional online services between the US and points in UAE and beyond, which will enhance competition and travel options available to consumers. Further, the Department has granted similar authority to numerous codeshare partnerships involving US and foreign carriers, recognizing the important public benefits that are produced.”

OAG data shows that Emirates serves 11 destinations in the US at the present time, including daily nonstop service from Dubai to both Chicago O’Hare and Houston.

It also provides daily flights to United hubs at Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco and Washington Dulles (IAD), as well as a daily fifth-freedom route between Athens (ATH) and Newark.

United previously served Dubai from Washington Dulles but ended flights in early 2016.