Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
Competition on flights between the US and Australia will hot up following an ”open skies” deal announced by both countries” governments following three days of talks in Washington.
Similar to the agreement which liberalises transatlantic routes from March, this means any US or Australian airlines will be permitted to start routes between the two countries based on consumer demand, without limitations on the number of flights or restrictions on capacity and pricing. Opportunities for cooperative marketing arrangements - including code sharing - between US and Australian carriers can also be taken.
Currently, Qantas and United Airlines operate flights between the countries. The only other US carrier to do so is Hawaiian Airlines, with a service between Honolulu and Sydney.
”Today”s agreement begins a new era where American and Australian consumers, airlines and economies can enjoy the benefits of lower fares and more convenient service,” said US Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters.
Australia”s Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, said: ”The United States is Australia's third largest aviation market and this agreement removes restrictions on airlines starting services between the two countries and beyond to third countries.
”We will have more competition in the market for Australian travellers through the entry of new carriers, such as V Australia. The agreement will also provide certainty for Qantas and Jetstar to plan into the future, and widen the network of cities they serve in the United States.”
Virgin Blue is preparing next month to announce details of international subsidiary V Australia”s inaugural operations, which it will run using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from November. It hopes to launch ten weekly flights.
”This opens a whole new range of possibilities for us and the travelling public,” said Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey. ”It will enable us to bring long awaited, genuine competition to the transpacific market.”
Qantas will see increased competition, but said it welcomed the agreement and announced an additional three services per week from March ” to 51 ” while hinting it would take advantage of the liberalised conditions to extend its range of codeshare connections on US partner airlines.
”This brings new opportunities for growth and competition,” said Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon. ”Importantly, it will assist the further development of Australia”s aviation industry, as well as help increase trade and tourism with a major economic partner.
”Further liberalisation of air services arrangements with a number of countries is needed if Australian carriers are to grow operations and match opportunities available to foreign competitors.”
United also professed to welcome the deal - "We”ve been a long-time advocate to liberalise the market and we welcome competition,” an airline spokesman told ABTN.
The agreement will take effect once formal approval from the two governments is granted, but it applies only to American and Australian carriers. Singapore Airlines ” which had requests to fly between the countries turned down last year by the Australian government ” will be hoping there will be room in this new liberalised market for one more.
"The new Government's commitment to free trade principles is proven with this step today, but it is only the first step," said a Singapore Airlines spokesman. "Competing in a globalised economy doesn't mean consumers should lose by protecting the legacy practices of home-grown companies out of some loose definition of 'national interest'.
"It is a mistake to confuse national interest with national carriers' interests. They are not one and the same. We remain committed to pushing for further liberalisation, but understand this is more likely at a measured pace. We are patient."