Dubai-based Emirates and flydubai to more closely integrate

Markets Associated Press

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, and budget carrier flydubai have announced plans to more closely integrate their operations.

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The two airlines operate independently, but are owned by the same entity, the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Emirates Group and flydubai chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said Monday that the deeper partnership, which will include a code-share agreement, makes better use of the two Dubai-based airlines' capacities.

Emirates flies to more than 150 destinations, while flydubai reaches more than 90. The two already have an interline agreement, which lets them route passengers onto the other's airlines.

The new agreement comes as Emirates' profits fell by more than 80 percent to $340 million in the last fiscal year due in part to a slump in demand and U.S. travel restrictions.