The new partnership between Emirates and Qantas has been cleared by Australian regulators to start operating from next week.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which gave preliminary approval for the partnership between the airlines in December, gave final permission for the alliance to go ahead today (March 27).
The new partnership means the end of Qantas’ 17-year joint business with British Airways from March 31, and sees Qantas shift its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai from next month.
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,”
“In particular, the alliance is likely to provide Qantas and Emirates customers with increased access to a large number of existing frequencies and destinations under a single airline code, improved connectivity and scheduling, and access to each alliance partner’s frequent flyer programmes.
“The alliance is also likely to provide the airlines with increased flexibility to manage their fleet.”
But the ACCC has applied one condition on routes between Australia and New Zealand, where Qantas and Emirates will be required to maintain their pre-alliance capacity on four routes between the countries where the two airlines currently have at least 65 per cent of capacity.
Sims said: “On these routes, the ACCC is concerned that Qantas and Emirates will have the ability and incentive to reduce or limit growth in capacity in order to raise airfares.”
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce called the decision “great news” for travellers and the airline.
“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,” added Joyce.
Qantas and Emirates will offer a total of 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai, with Qantas continuing to operate daily services from Melbourne and Sydney through to Heathrow.
Emirates president Tim Clark added: “This is a truly game-changing partnership that brings together two of the world’s best airlines and offers some of the highest quality travel experiences.
“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.”