The partnership will provide customers with a seamless international and Australian network, frequent flyer benefits and world-class travel experiences.
Today’s decision follows a six month review process by the ACCC that included several rounds of public submissions, a pre-decision conference and a comprehensive analysis of the benefits the partnership will deliver to customers.
“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,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.
“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,” added Mr Clark.
Chief Executive Officer of the Qantas Group Alan Joyce said the decision was great news for Australian travellers and local tourism, as well as the airline itself.
“Qantas is an Australian icon and the future of its international business is much brighter with this partnership,” said Mr Joyce.
“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.”
From Dubai, passengers can connect to 65 one-stop destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Almost all of these connections to Europe and most to North Africa are available within 4 hours of landing in Dubai.
As part of the decision, Qantas and Emirates have committed to maintain current levels of capacity on the four routes that both airlines fly between Australia and New Zealand. Subject to approval in New Zealand, the ability to cooperate on these Trans Tasman routes creates the potential for the two airlines to market both Australia and New Zealand to their global networks.
Emirates customers are now able choose from 32 Australian destinations that Qantas operates to including Canberra, Port Lincoln, Cairns and Hobart, opening up Australia to passengers from all over the ever expanding Emirates network.
Qantas and Emirates applied to the ACCC for authorisation of their partnership in September 2012. In December the ACCC released its draft determination, indicating its intention to approve the partnership for a period of five years.
In January 2013, the ACCC approved an application for interim approval, which enabled the two airlines to coordinate pricing, schedules and capacity in advance of today’s decision. Fares on the joint network went on sale in mid-January for travel from 31 March 2013, subject to regulatory approval.
Preparations for the partnership, including Qantas’ new operational hub in Dubai, are now complete. The first flight is scheduled from Sydney to London (via Dubai) on 31 March.