JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com) and Emirates (www.emirates.com/us), the international carrier based in Dubai, announced their intent to expand their existing partnership to include bilateral codesharing.
The expansion is pending FAA and DOT regulatory approval and subject to receipt of foreign government operating authority.
Under the expanded agreement, JetBlue would place its "B6" airline code on all flights currently operated by Emirates between the U.S. and Dubai International Airport, as well as between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan, Italy.
It's the latest step in a three-year partnership between JetBlue and Emirates. Emirates started placing its code on select JetBlue-operated flights in April 2012, expanding an interline agreement that dates back to 2010.
Current codeshare routes offered by Emirates on JetBlue-operated flights cover 28 destinations including Boston, Chicago, Orlando and Puerto Rico. Since March this year, Emirates also began placing its code on additional JetBlue routes, including Bridgetown, Barbados, Cancun, Mexico, Montego Bay, Jamaica and Santo Domingo, Santiago and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Through the existing agreement, customers enjoy the convenience of a single combined ticket for Emirates and JetBlue-operated flights, plus other benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.
Members of Skywards, the Emirates reward program, can earn miles on JetBlue-operated flights and also redeem miles for flights to any of JetBlue's 77 destinations throughout the Americas. Similarly, members of JetBlue's TrueBlue loyalty program can earn points for Emirates-operated flights worldwide.
"As Emirates continues to expand its presence in the U.S. market, our partnership offering with JetBlue provides customers with convenient connections from its extensive network to our seven U.S. gateways, including our twice daily A380 service non-stop from JFK to Dubai," said Thierry Antinori, Emirates' executive vice president of passenger sales worldwide.
Offering a boost to tourism and more convenience for inbound travellers, the codeshare also gives Emirates' customers a new choice of destinations with the benefit of a single combined ticket, according to Antinori.
"Putting our code on another airline is a significant milestone for JetBlue; we're proud to do it with Emirates, a fantastic partner for JetBlue over the past years," said Robin Hayes, JetBlue's chief commercial officer.
He characterized the Emirates' product and network as exceptional and said: "We trust this expansion will create additional ease of travel for our customers."
Passengers travelling in First Class and Business Class on Emirates-operated flights, as well as Skywards Platinum and Gold members, have access to the Emirates Lounge at JFK. Premium passengers, including Gold and Platinum Skywards members, will also have access to lounges at the other Emirates gateways, including the dedicated Emirates' lounge in San Francisco.