Australia’s national airline Qantas is keeping a firm eye on growing its existing four daily flights out of Dubai that could see a greater consolidation of its network with its partner Emirates.
“Any expansion has to be a consolidation of what exists today, so we are very focused on making sure what we have today is really paramount,” Rohan Garnett, Qantas’ Regional General Manager for the Middle East, told Gulf News on Wednesday night.
Qantas moved four daily flights to Dubai from Singapore, two daily to London and one each to Sydney and Melbourne in 2013 when it started its partnership with Emirates. Both airlines have sung praises of the tie-up that gives Qantas access to Emirates’ vast international network and Emirates access to Australia’s largest domestic operator.
The two carriers are currently planning on how to grow the partnership over the next three to five years with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce having met with Emirates President Tim Clark in Dubai this week.
Garnett said Qantas is looking at a “range of possibilities” in building on its existing flights out of Dubai, including “other city pair combinations.”
On Monday, Clark told reporters Emirates and Qantas will look to expand the partnership to more destinations. This includes Qantas to consider flying Boeing Dreamliner 787-9s to continental Europe from Dubai.
While Garnett admits that “anything’s possible” and flying the Dreamliners to mainland Europe “is an exciting possibility,” he said “those decisions haven’t been taken.”
Qantas will receive eight Dreamliners between late 2017 and mid-2019, some of which will be used to replace 747s on flights to the United States, Japan and South Africa.
Under the partnership expansion talks, Emirates will also look at flying to secondary Australian cities with Clark having flagged Darwin, Cairns, Broome, and Alice Springs as some of the possibilities.
“If that is to be the case, our domestic business would benefit,” Garnett said.