United Airlines partners with one-time foe Emirates, will launch Dubai flights

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Emirates airlines Boeing 777-31H(ER) takes off from Los Angeles international Airport on January 13, 2021.

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United Airlines and Emirates will sell seats on each other’s planes, marking a turnaround in the business models of the one-time foes.

As part of the deal, United said it will start flights to Dubai next year.

The codeshare agreement, which the CEOs announced Wednesday, will give the airlines access to the other carrier’s destinations and is the latest sign of thawing in the relationship between U.S. and Gulf airlines, particularly as international air travel rebounds from more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will also allow passengers to earn and burn frequent flyer miles on each carrier.

United and other major U.S. carriers like Delta Air Lines and American Airlines had spent years lobbying against big Persian Gulf airlines’ expansion in the United States, arguing the state-owned airlines were competing unfairly with backing from government subsidies, which those countries denied.

Emirates told CNBC it is ending its codeshare partnership with United rival JetBlue Airways on Oct. 30. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said it will expand its partnership with New York-based JetBlue.

Qatar Airways and American Airlines in June said they would expand their codeshare partnership.

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