Qantas and Emirates have officially launched their joint venture, with the first Kangaroo Route flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London being re-routed through Dubai on Sunday.
Having received final approval for the partnership from Australian regulators last week, the two airlines marked the start of the tie-up in grand style on 31 March 2013, with a joint Airbus A380 flyover at the Sydney Opera House.
The two airlines will now combine their operations, offering single ticket travel for customers on a range of routes from connecting Qantas’ flights to the Emirates network via Dubai International Airport. The carriers will work together in areas of flight scheduling and pricing, frequent flyer programmes and airport services.
“From today, our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network,” Qantas’ group CEO Alan Joyce said at Sunday’s launch.
“Before today, the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK with our partners. From today, we offer access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined Qantas and Emirates network. The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” he added.
Combined, the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai, and Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne to London. As the Kangaroo Route flights have been routed away from East Asia, Qantas has already announced a series of new schedules, which it says offer “better frequency and increased dedicated capacity” for Singapore and Hong Kong.
At Dubai International Airport, Qantas will operate from Emirates’ new dedicated A380 terminal, and the Middle Eastern carrier’s president, Tim Clark, assured passengers that the new partnership would provide superior levels of service.
“Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates,” Clark said. “Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at Dubai International Airport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership.”
The new Qantas flights to London will now depart Melbourne at 1625 and Sydney at 1705, and will stop in Dubai for approximately one hour 30 minutes before continuing to Heathrow.