Government of India refuses permission for United to codeshare on Emirates flights from India

In 2022, United Airlines and Emirates announced a wide-ranging codeshare agreement in September 2022, which was brought to life this year. This plan has now hit a significant bump.

United denied permission to codeshare on Emirates flights from India.

In January 2023, Emirates and United filed a joint application to cover 300 routes where they could put their code on each other’s flights. As a part of the codeshare application, United Airlines requested clearance to place its UA code on “Emirates flights operating from Dubai to points in the UAE and points beyond the UAE across Africa, Middle East, India, and other points in South East Asia, and to facilitate international air travel between these points and the U.S. and points beyond the US.”

tail tails of airplanes in the air

Now, United and Emirates have been refused permission to place the code of United on flights between India and Dubai. As per The Economic Times, the existing agreements between India and the UAE do not allow for codeshares.

This could be a spoke in the wheel, as Emirates and United seek heightened access to India. At the moment, Emirates has the bilateral from Dubai’s end fully taken. United, cannot operate many flights to India (despite an open skies agreement), thanks to the Russian airspace restrictions. Of course, some people who did not see a desired outcome here think this is the Indian market being protectionist. Still, if the arrangement between India and Dubai does not account for it, then it is a legit ground to deny the request.


United and Emirates applied for United to put its code on Emirates’ flights between Dubai and Indian destinations. However, this request has been denied, given the construct of the Indian and Dubai ASA agreement. This means United will not be able to market the Emirates flights with the UA code.

What do you make of UA’s request and India’s response?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I’m not really sure where the idea that codeshares of third country airlines are not allowed on flights from the UAE to India comes from, as mentioned in the article–I’ve seen them for years on monitors in the Gulf, I remember some of the Etihad flights to India used to have Sri Lankan Airways codeshare numbers on them. You can even look up an example on FlightsStats of EY280 from Abu Dhabi to Cochin–it has a flynas (Saudi Arabian airline) codeshare number of XY3280.

    • @Jay, there are no bilateral between UAE and India. The bilateral treaties predate the formation of the UAE; hence, there is a separate one with Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc. So, you are welcome to read those up and see if there is a difference in the text (I did!)

      • Do you have a link to the treaty text? I could only find a copy of the 2007 bilateral, back when it was 21k seats from Dubai, a third of what it is today. At least that bilateral has been updated in the past 15 years—the Kuwaitis were lamenting that the India has declined to update the 2007 bilateral, which is stuck and maxed out on both sides at 12k seats per country despite the number of Indian citizens in Kuwait increasing 4x in that time. I hope that one day India extends its open sky policy to include countries within 5,000 nautical miles and not just those further away.

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