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QANTAS & EMIRATES: Partnership OK for the moment says ACCC

QANTAS & EMIRATES: Partnership OK for the moment says ACCC

The Australian Corporation and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation to enable Qantas and Emirates to continue coordinating passenger and cargo operations, while the ACCC continues its assessment of their new application. The old partnership authorisation which was granted in 2018 is due to come to an end on 31 March 2023, so this decision just gives them some time to make the assessment and allows things to continue as they are for the moment.

The existing authorisation allows them to coordinate routes covering Australia and UK/Europe, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The new application seeks to extend that for another 5 years

“The interim authorisation commences immediately and allows the parties to continue coordinating their operations while the ACCC considers and evaluates the merits of the substantive application for authorisation.

The ACCC may review the interim authorisation at any time and its interim authorisation decision should not be taken to be indicative of whether or not final authorisation will be granted.”

ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey
Emirates A380s at Heathrow [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

This extension of the authorisation to take part in activities that without the ACCC’s authorisation might be construed as anti-competitive, should be read as a neutral decision, neither indicating future approval nor denial.

Formally, the ACCC can review the interim authorisation at any time for reasons that include a response to feedback raised following the authorisation. So Qantas and Emirates are not completely safe while the application is being assessed.

A lot has changed in the international airline market since the partnership between Emirates and Qantas was first started in 2013 after Qantas grounded all its international fleet and left thousands of passengers stranded in 2011. While there might have been good reasons to permit the partnership to allow Qantas to be competitive on the European and other routes, I’m wondering if those arguments are still as strong. With other substantive hubs in Asia like Singapore, Bangkok, and various cities in China, plus the middle east centres of Abu Dhabi, Oman, and the emergent Ryiahd in Saudi Arabia, is the Dubai Emirates partnership so vital?

The ACCC will tell us in due course.

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