Qantas and Emirates have announced a new global partnership that will see the airlines combine their flight networks.
The 10-year agreement, which was signed this morning (6 September 2012) by Emirates’ President Tim Clark and Qantas’ Group CEO Alan Joyce, will see Qantas re-route its European flights through Dubai. The two airlines will also codeshare on a range of routes, as well as collaborating on pricing, sales and scheduling.
Qantas will now launch daily Airbus A380 services from both Sydney and Melbourne to London, via Dubai. This means that together Emirates and Qantas will offer 98 weekly services between Australia and Dubai. The tie-up will however, see Qantas restructure its Asian network.
“We currently have an Asian flying schedule based on travelling via Asia to Europe, but our Australian business customers want better access to Asia, and we have been looking to address this for some time,” said Joyce. “With European services transiting through Dubai, Qantas’ Asian services will no longer be a subsidiary of the ‘Kangaroo Route’. Instead they will be dedicated to connecting Australians with our region, and Asian visitors to Australia.”
Changes announced so far include the retiming of flights to Singapore and Hong Kong to enable more ‘same day’ connections across Asia, and Qantas’ withdrawal from the Singapore-Frankfurt route. Qantas has also announced the termination of its 17-year joint business venture with British Airways, but confirmed it would remain in the oneworld alliance.
Referring the Emirates tie-up, Joyce commented; “This is the most significant partnership the Qantas Group has ever formed with another airline, moving past the traditional alliance model to a new level. It will deliver benefits to all parts of the group.
“The partnership delivers on all four pillars of the Qantas Group’s international strategy: it will see us fly to the global gateway city of Dubai, provide some of the world’s best travel experiences through both Qantas and Emirates, improve our network in Asia, and, crucially, help build a strong Qantas International business for the long term,” he added.
Emirates’ Tim Clark said the “time was right” to partner Qantas. “Since our first flights began in 1996, Australia has long been a popular destination for Emirates leisure and business travellers, making it one of the top three destinations in our network. By establishing this partnership we are providing our passengers with additional connectivity in Australia and the region, the ability to utilise reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and access to premium lounges and travel experiences,” he commented.
The move marks the continued cooperation between airlines in Australia and the UAE, following a similar tie-up between Etihad and Virgin Australia. Unlike the Etihad deal however, Emirates will not take an equity stake in Qantas.
The airlines will now submit an application to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) in order to begin commercial planning. Subject to regulatory approval, the partnership is expected to commence in April 2013.