Qantas and Emirates will apply to extend their partnership for another five years, making changes to reflect customer demand, new aircraft technology and each airline’s respective network strengths.
These changes will deliver additional benefits to the eight million passengers who have travelled more than 65 billion kilometres on the combined network since 2013, increasing customer choice as well as frequent flyer earn and redeem opportunities, the airlines said in a joint statement.
They added that the adjustments will also deliver financial upside to both airlines, with Qantas annualised net benefit estimated at more than AU$80 million from 2019 onwards.
Meeting in Sydney, Australia, to finalise the extension, both airlines agreed the first five years of the partnership had lived up to the promise of serving their customers better, together.
The key change will see the airlines better leveraging each other’s networks, by providing three options to Australia from Europe – via Dubai and Singapore, and direct to Perth.
Qantas will re-route its daily London – Sydney A380 service via Singapore rather than Dubai and upgrade its existing daily Singapore-Melbourne flight from an A330 to an A380. As previously announced, Qantas’ existing London-Dubai-Melbourne service will be replaced with its direct Dreamliner service flying London-Perth-Melbourne.
Customer demand for flights from Dubai to Australia with Emirates will remain well-served. Emirates will continue to operate 77 weekly services from Dubai to five cities – Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney – including seven daily A380 flights.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the changes represented an evolution of the partnership to deliver additional benefits for customers, including the millions of frequent flyer members of both airlines.
“The first five years of the Qantas-Emirates alliance has been a great success. Emirates has given Qantas customers an unbeatable network into Europe that is still growing. We want to keep leveraging this strength and offer additional travel options on Qantas, particularly through Asia.
“Our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai, and that means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia.
“Improvements in aircraft technology means the Qantas network will eventually feature a handful of direct routes between Europe and Australia, but this will never overtake the sheer number of destinations served by Emirates and that’s why Dubai will remain an important hub for our customers.”
Sir Tim Clark, president Emirates Airline, added: “The Emirates-Qantas partnership has been, and continues to be, a success story. Together we deliver choice and value to consumers, mutual benefit to both businesses, and expanded tourism and trade opportunities for the markets served by both airlines. We remain committed to the partnership.
“Emirates has worked with Qantas on these network changes. We see an opportunity to offer customers an even stronger product proposition for travel to Dubai, and onward connectivity to our extensive network in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We will announce updates in the coming weeks.
“Customers of both airlines will continue to benefit from the power of our joint network, from our respective products, and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.”
The airlines said they will shortly seek re-authorisation from relevant regulators, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to continue coordination of pricing, schedules, sales and tourism marketing, under an expanded partnership.
Tickets for Qantas’ new services will be available from Friday. Customers with existing bookings impacted by the changes will be re-accommodated onto the airlines’ new services or will be given the option to change their flights.