Air Canada & Emirates Launch Partnership

Air Canada & Emirates Launch Partnership

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Air Canada & Emirates have just announced plans to form a strategic partnership, and this has the potential to be interesting on a couple of fronts.

Air Canada & Emirates strategic partnership basics

Air Canada & Emirates have signed a strategic partnership agreement, intended to improve travel options between Canada and the United Arab Emirates:

  • Air Canada & Emirates will launch a codeshare partnership later in 2022, giving Air Canada travelers more flight options beyond Dubai, and giving Emirates travelers more flight options beyond Toronto
  • This will allow customers to book connecting travel between both airlines’ networks on a single ticket, creating more seamless check-in and baggage transfers
  • The two airlines intend to establish reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and reciprocal lounge access for qualifying customers; the details of this will be announced when the agreement is finalized

For context, Air Canada operates up to 5x weekly flights between Toronto and Dubai, and Emirates also operates up to 5x weekly flights between Toronto and Dubai. Air Canada doesn’t have flights from anywhere else in Canada to the UAE, and Emirates doesn’t have flights to anywhere else in Canada.

This new strategic alliance is pretty interesting, because historically Canada’s government has been over-protective of Air Canada, preventing competition from foreign airlines. Emirates would love to add more flights to Canada, including increasing frequencies to Toronto and adding more destinations, but the Canadian government has restricted this.

Conversely, while Air Canada has been able to operate to Dubai, the airline has struggled with connectivity, given its lack of a partnership with Emirates.

It’s nice to see the two airlines now cooperating. Who knows, with the support of Air Canada, maybe this will eventually lead to Emirates also getting more access to other gateways in Canada.

Speaking of the Middle East, Air Canada also flies to Doha, Qatar, and the airline has a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways for connectivity. However, the airlines don’t offer frequent flyer reciprocity.

Air Canada & Emirates are launching a partnership

What does this mean for Air Canada Aeroplan?

Air Canada Aeroplan is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs, thanks to the program having more airline partners than any other program in the world, and also allowing stopovers for just 5,000 points one-way.

When I saw the announcement about a new partnership between Air Canada & Emirates, I’m sure I’m not the only one who immediately started thinking about the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for travel on Emirates.

Is that going to happen?

  • It does sound like we should expect reciprocal points earning and redemption opportunities; that was never promised when Air Canada and Qatar Airways introduced a codeshare agreement, so I do expect we’ll see that here
  • That being said, with few exceptions, Emirates restricts first class award availability primarily to members of its own Skywards program, and I doubt Aeroplan will get an exception to that; my guess is that Aeroplan points will be redeemable for Emirates economy and business class, but not for first class
  • Who knows, the folks at Aeroplan seem to be pretty convincing with airline partners, so maybe they’ll get us some first class awards as well 😉

While first class awards would be awesome, being able to redeem Aeroplan points on Emirates in business class without fuel surcharges would already be a huge value-add. That’s especially true when you consider that Aeroplan lets you mix & match partners, and also add stopovers for a reasonable cost. If that happens, I’d consider it to be a great development.

Aeroplan already has frequent flyer partnerships with several Middle Eastern airlines, including Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, and Oman Air.

I’d expect business class awards, but not first class awards

Bottom line

Air Canada & Emirates are launching a strategic partnership, which will include a codeshare agreement, reciprocal points earning, and frequent flyer perk reciprocity.

While we’ll have to wait for the full details, it sounds like we should expect Aeroplan points to eventually be redeemable on Emirates, and that’s exciting. I wouldn’t count on first class awards being bookable, though.

What do you make of the new Air Canada & Emirates partnership?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Bhuoendra P Mathur Guest

    what is good connect for yvr to new delhi
    for Oct 1st to Nov 7th 2022

  2. PAUL SPITERI Guest

    I fly emirates business class all the time i will be very surprised if EK will get more frequency to YYZ or landing rights to YYC YVR YUL cause AC will loose a ton of customers you absolutely cannot compare the services in Y J F and EK professional cabin crew.

  3. Mamoun Alsabouni Guest

    This agreement must be activated ASAP, as Emirates Airlines is the number 1 in the world ✈️
    But I hope there will be no chaos at the airports and delayed or loss of baggage claim

  4. Ed Guest

    Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world. AirCanada is one if the worst. AirCanada's business class experience was one of the most horrible travel experiences in all of my time. The flight staff were tired, rude and treated customers with contempt. Emirates make their customers feel special. It's an odd partnership.

    1. Glen Guest

      While we Canadians like to slag Air Canada, most people wouldn't consider AC one of the worst airlines. Middling maybe, with bright and low spots here and there.

  5. Najib Guest

    How soon will Emirates or air Canada fly dubai Montreal dubai and vice versa?

    1. Abdul Majid Guest

      Good morning everybody Emirates Air line also very good service also staff very Respectful also crew's I will travels so many times Really no complaints any things related to this situation but I am interested this: air Emirates thanks to much nice air lines uae very beautiful Looking nice so much i like its

  6. BroncosBoy Guest

    As Hank alluded, this is likely not a one-off move. It is not out of the question to potentially see another Star Alliance carrier from the Great Lakes region follow suit. This could potentially result in a path to SA. Gone are the days of the US3 bemoaning ME3 business models.

  7. Douglas Tompson Guest

    If there is a partnership without being able to accumulate points and have lounge privileges, it’s nothing more than a PR exercise. Air Canada has a partnership with Qatar Airlines but I mistakenly took several flights without loyalty points or lounge privileges in Doha.

    I hope the partnership with Emirates offers loyalty points and lounge privileges.

  8. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    And suddenly, the UAE's access issues with Canada are no more. Funny. :)

    UAE already has open skies with the USA, else I'd say look out for the DL/EK partnership next....... still not convinced that that won't happen, as neither carrier has a strong network partner in the other's region: EK has a piddling interaction with JetBlue that barely covers anything, and Delta with MEA.

    I wouldn't be surprised if both get over their public...

    And suddenly, the UAE's access issues with Canada are no more. Funny. :)

    UAE already has open skies with the USA, else I'd say look out for the DL/EK partnership next....... still not convinced that that won't happen, as neither carrier has a strong network partner in the other's region: EK has a piddling interaction with JetBlue that barely covers anything, and Delta with MEA.

    I wouldn't be surprised if both get over their public squabbling and attempt a massive immunized J/V at some point or other.

  9. Sean Guest

    It is interesting that Ben's analysis says that it is likely that redemption reciprocity will be coming; but, on Princeoftravel (a Canadian travel blog), he argues that it is unlikely that redemption opportunities will be forthcoming. I sure hope you're right, Ben!

    1. Darren Guest

      What's interesting about Ben having an opinion, and some blogger having another? Seriously curious, not trying to be rude or anything

  10. Adil Guest

    Didn't Air Canada do something similar with Etihad a few months ago? If so, AC now has all 3 of the ME3 as partners.

  11. Glen Guest

    How far we've come from the tension in 2010-2011. UAE even imposed a visa fee of hundreds of dollars in retaliation for Canada not giving up more landing spots.

    1. Anna Guest

      Dont forget how hard AC lobbied that the ME3 do not get more access to Canada.
      If it wasnt for AC receiving this protectionist subsidy for years, we would have a lot more choice in Canada, and wouldnt have to put up with the garbage that AC is, at least longhaul.

  12. Bob Guest

    Why would a shiny Mercedes partner with a beat up Chevy....

  13. Hank Tarn Guest

    If this is a prequel, Emirates would suit Star Alliance. Like Lufthansa they have a strong brand, national monopoly and with an underwhelming yet overhyped business product and an excellent first class that also hides the substandard level of the dated business class on most planes. Fly Qatar if ME3 as they are part of One World with American.

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Douglas Tompson Guest

If there is a partnership without being able to accumulate points and have lounge privileges, it’s nothing more than a PR exercise. Air Canada has a partnership with Qatar Airlines but I mistakenly took several flights without loyalty points or lounge privileges in Doha. I hope the partnership with Emirates offers loyalty points and lounge privileges.

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ConcordeBoy Diamond

And suddenly, the UAE's access issues with Canada are no more. Funny. :) UAE already has open skies with the USA, else I'd say look out for the DL/EK partnership next....... still not convinced that that won't happen, as neither carrier has a strong network partner in the other's region: EK has a piddling interaction with JetBlue that barely covers anything, and Delta with MEA. I wouldn't be surprised if both get over their public squabbling and attempt a massive immunized J/V at some point or other.

1
Bob Guest

Why would a shiny Mercedes partner with a beat up Chevy....

1
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