United Airlines and Emirates have generated significant excitement today. United posted a vague message on Twitter and asked if Emirates wanted “to hang (ar) out on September 14.” Emirates then replied that it would meet United on that day.
The Air Current broke the news before anything was posted on social media by either United or Emirates. According to Jon Ostrower, both airlines plan to announce a codeshare agreement. A short time after United and Emirates’ Twitter exchange, an image surfaced on social media that is an invite to an event with the two airlines on September 14.
According to Reuters, sources have confirmed that United and Emirates will be announcing a codeshare agreement. This is quite a shift, as just a few years ago, US carriers were arguing that governments unfairly subsidized airlines in the Gulf. Ethan Klapper of The Points Guy wrote that in 2017, the then-CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz roundly criticized the Gulf airlines, including Emirates, because of subsidies they received from their respective countries.
Now, just five years after Munoz’s remarks, with United Airlines under the leadership of Scott Kirby, United is set to announce something sure to be revolutionary, as some may say.
A codeshare with United would be Emirates’ second in the United States. Emirates currently has a codeshare agreement with JetBlue and previously had one with Alaska Airlines. The partnership with Alaska Airlines was discontinued after the airline joined oneworld and began working more closely with Qatar Airways. The Gulf carrier currently serves twelve cities in the United States, including every United Airlines hub except Denver.
American recently announced an expansion of its strategic alliance with Qatar Airways, originally announced two years ago. The expansion of the partnership was a new codeshare agreement that expanded to an additional 16 countries. In June, American also launched a new nonstop service from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Hamad International Airport in Doha. This new route established American Airlines as the only United States airline to serve the Gulf region.
Emirates to join Star Alliance?
The idea that Emirates will join Star Alliance is also being discussed on the internet. Just last month, Emirates and Air Canada announced a codeshare agreement. According to The Air Current, a codeshare with United is the precursor to the Gulf airline joining Star Alliance. Emirates joining any global airline alliance would be a surprise, as Emirates President Tim Clark said in 2020, that he felt strongly that Emirates should not enter a global alliance.
Sources: The Air Current, Reuters, The Points Guy