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Emirates, Qantas receive interim approval for alliance

Under the alliance, the two airlines will cooperate on passenger and freight operations across their networks

Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates on Thursday welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCCs) decision to grant interim authorisation for the proposed Emirates and Qantas partnership.

The ACCC on Thursday has granted interim authorisation, subject to a condition, for the proposed alliance between Qantas Airways Limited and Emirates. Under the alliance, the two airlines will cooperate on passenger and freight operations across their networks.

“The applicants plan to undertake certain preliminary steps to prepare for the proposed implementation of the alliance in April 2013. This work relates to joint sales and pricing strategy, joint marketing, system integration and testing, customer handling, and scheduling and capacity coordination,” said an ACCC statement.

Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The ACCC is allowing Qantas and Emirates to start implementing their alliance because of the long lead time required to market and sell tickets before the commencement of long-haul services, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“In its draft determination issued in December the ACCC formed the preliminary view, after conducting a detailed assessment, that the public benefits resulting from the alliance are likely to outweigh the public detriment which may result through its effect on competition where Qantas and Emirates offer overlapping services. In most regions, this detriment is likely to be mitigated by a number of factors, including continued competition from a number of established airlines,” he said.

The partnership still remains subject to final authorisation from the ACCC, a decision on which is expected in March.

“The interim approval clears the way for Emirates and Qantas to be geared up to provide customers with a unified experience from day one,” said Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline.

“The Emirates and Qantas partnership will provide customers unparalleled access to the respective networks and services including the A380 experience.”

“This approval comes two weeks after our first aircraft departed from Concourse A at Dubai Airport, the world’s only purpose-built A380 concourse and the ‘home of the Emirates A380’. Qantas’ A380 passengers flying in from Australia will be able to enjoy the unrivalled experience in terms of comfort, convenience and choice of facilities in Concourse A, before boarding their flights to our rapidly expanding European network or our destinations in the Middle East and Africa,” added Clark.

Fares on the combined network, which would be for travel after April 2013, are expected to be available in coming weeks once discussions on pricing have taken place. These services remain subject to regulatory approval, including from the ACCC.