Qantas and Emirates are to work together on routes between Australia and Europe, after the partnership was approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this week.
The new partnership follows the termination of the long-standing partnership between Qantas and British Airways last year; it will see the base of the so called ‘Kangaroo Route’ move from Singapore to Emirates’ hub in Dubai.
The joint venture – which is being seen as key to changing the fortunes of Qantas’ loss-making international operations – will see the Australia and Dubai-based airlines work together on sales, pricing and flight scheduling for the next five years. The Australian watchdog’s decision follows a six month consultation process through which they have established that the benefits to the Australian public outweighed the negatives.
ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said: “The ACCC considers that the alliance is likely to result in public benefits through enhanced products and service offerings by the airlines, and improved operating efficiency.”
Combined, there will be a total of 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. The new deal will allow travellers from Australia to directly connect to 65 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East through Dubai – the majority of which will be available within 4 hours of landing in Dubai. Qantas will, however, continue to operate daily services between London and Sydney.
Although the five-year approval is half the decade that the airlines had originally requested, and caveats put in place on service levels to New Zealand, the Emirates president, Tim Clark has hailed the deal as “game changing”.
He also added: “Dubai is a leading global hub and through it, our two airlines will connect Australia to Europe, the UK and Northern Africa more smoothly than ever before.”
Welcoming the ACCC’s announcement, Alan Joyce, Qantas’ chief executive, said: “Qantas is an Australian icon and the future of its international business is much brighter with this partnership. Customers are already responding very strongly to the joint network that Qantas and Emirates have built, and to the frequent flyer benefits that extend across it, with a significant increase in bookings.”
Final preparations for the partnership were arranged in January of this year – pending regulatory approval – with the first flights scheduled to fly from Sydney to London (via Dubai) on March 31st 2013.