DALLAS — Middle Eastern giant Emirates (EK) has stated its intentions to negotiate a future codeshare agreement with Air India (AI), which at the moment is experiencing the largest structural transformation and expansion of any airline in commercial aviation history.
In an interview with the Indian publication Mint, the vice president of EK India and Nepal, Mohammad Sarhan, declared that “talks with Air India are at an early stage. They are a bit busy with the merger as well as other stuff. So, just initial-level talks are on, and let’s see how it evolves.”
Just as Sarhan said, Air India is going under the massive restructuring plan “Vihaan AI,” which not only looks forward to bringing the carrier back to profitability with both route network and fleet modifications but also aims for an improvement in sustainability and a decrease in carbon emissions in unfortunately one of the world’s most affected countries by climate change and global warming.
On the other hand, Emirates has been highly interested in starting cooperation with Indian airlines, as this national market is in constant growth and is expected to reach the levels of China and the United States in the coming years. EK tried to sign a codeshare agreement with SpiceJet (SG) but failed after disagreements with the signers.
This time, Emirates looks for a codeshare with an Indian premium carrier, “Both sides (SG and EK) didn’t activate the codeshare. We are a full-service carrier, so we will only like to partner with a full-service premium airline, that makes sense and matches us,” added Sarhan.
Another Shot Towards Star Alliance
During the last months, Emirates Airlines has been approaching very closely to airlines belonging to the Star Alliance. At the moment of writing, EK operates codeshare agreements with seven full Star Alliance members and two subsidiaries, including Air Canada (AC), TAP Portugal (TP), Thai Airways (TG), and United Airlines (UA), among others.
The middle-eastern airline refers to these carriers as “best friends,” especially Air Canada (AC) and United Airlines (UA), which were “rivals and a challenge for us”, according to Mohammad Sarhan.
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Featured image: Brandon Siska/Airways