July 27, 2012
Credit: Photo: Boeing
Qantas confirms that Emirates is one of the airlines it is holding discussions with as it looks for a way to boost its international network through alliances with other carriers.
Such a linkup would presumably see Qantas shift its allegiance from Oneworld partner British Airways to Emirates on routes between Australia and Europe. Qantas would be able to rely heavily on Emirates’ extensive European network, while Emirates would gain greater access to the Australian domestic market.
In a statement to the Australian stock exchange, Qantas confirmed “it is in discussions with a number of airlines about potential alliances … these airlines include Emirates, among others.” A link between the two has been rumored for a while, but this is the first time discussions have been officially acknowledged. The confirmation was apparently prompted by media reports.
Another Middle Eastern carrier, Qatar, could be one of the other carriers Qantas is talking to. In July, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said his carrier was holding discussions with Qantas about a code share partnership that would encompass Australia-Europe routes. At the time, Qantas would not confirm these talks, and its only response was that “we don’t comment on what private discussions we may be having about potential airline partnerships.”
Emirates has a far stronger network into Australia than Qatar. Beginning in November Emirates will fly to five Australian cities from Dubai, whereas Qatar flies to two – Perth and Melbourne.
Qantas currently has a joint services agreement (JSA) with British Airways covering Australia-Europe services. They both fly their own aircraft between London and Sydney via Singapore. Qantas also has a one-stop flight from Melbourne.
Both airlines used to operate one-stop service between the two countries via Bangkok and Hong Kong, but last August they agreed to each focus on their own halves of these routes.
Qantas links to the British Airways European network in London, and also has its own flight to Frankfurt. So reaching most European cities under the JSA requires two stops.