Dubai: The expansion of the Emirates-Qantas partnership over the next five years includes Emirates looking at launching flights to secondary Australian cities and Qantas considering flying to continental Europe via Dubai, using Boeing 787s.
Emirates and Qantas started the historic revenue partnership in 2013 with the Australian carrier dropping a 17-year relationship with British Airways to move its London-bound hub from Singapore, to Dubai.
Emirates flies to Australia’s four major hubs: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth along with Adelaide, and Qantas flies from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai.
Emirates airline President Tim Clark told reporters in Dubai on Monday that he met with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce last week and the two airlines agreed to “map the way forward over the next three [to] five years.”
“Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are going to be primary areas,” Clark said.
Asked if Emirates could fly to secondary cities in Australia, Clark said: “Darwin, Cairns, Broome, Alice Springs. Look, there are lots [of possibilities].”
Darwin, in the northern centre of Australia, and Cairns, in the north east of the country along the coast, are already connected with regular direct flights into Asia, meaning there is appetite for international services.
Flights to secondary Australian cities would also open up a new feeder catchment of inbound international passengers for Qantas’ domestic network, which is where the Australian carrier makes the bulk of its money.
Clark said he is bullish on expanding into Australia and the Qantas partnership despite the Australian dollar having fallen around 13 per cent against the United States dollar so far this year,
“Growth in our particular market is unabated, [and] as I said, we will look at everything,” Clark said.
The expansion of the Emirates-Qantas partnership will also include the Australian carrier reviewing the number of destinations it serves via Dubai.
Clark said, part of the original agreement includes Qantas to consider resuming flights to European cities like Frankfurt, Paris and Rome once it receives its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. In August 2015, Qantas confirmed purchases of eight 787-9s, which will be delivered by the end of the airline’s 2019 financial year. It has options and purchase rights for 45 more.
In June, Joyce told reporters there is potential to launch additional services via Dubai once the 787-9s come into service. Both Clark and Joyce said this year they will extend the partnership beyond its initial five years, that ends in 2018.