The alliance between Australia’s Qantas Airways and the UAE, Dubai-based Emirates airline was reauthorized by an Australian regulatory body for a further five years, subject to the condition of addressing continuing competition concerns on the Sydney (Australia) – Christchurch (New Zealand) route.

In separate press releases, both Qantas and Emirates have hailed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) reauthorization of their partnership until 2023.

The two carriers stated that the continuation of the joint business, announced in August 2017, “will deliver expanded services, greater schedule choice, increased frequent flyer benefits” for their customers.

Qantas International CEO Alison Webster hailed the ACCC’s move as “an important milestone” in helping to deliver benefits for travelers and Australian tourism for the next five years.

“The evolution of our partnership reflects changes in customer demand and will allow us to leverage the latest aircraft technology and maximize new routes,” Webster said in a statement.

Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori also vowed to continue cooperation with Qantas, stating that the carrier looks forward to taking the partnership to “its next phase”.

“Over the next five years, we will continue to work closely with our partner Qantas to deliver benefits for our customers, for Australia’s air transport connectivity, and for both airlines,” Antinori said in a press release.

Back in August 2017, the two carriers stated they 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.

The key change was to have the airlines better leveraging each other’s networks – Emirates with its Dubai hub and Qantas with its dominant position in Australia – by providing three options to Europe – via Dubai (UAE), Perth (Australia) and Singapore.

Qantas said it would stop flying to London via Emirates’ Dubai hub when the alliance was renewed; its Sydney-London flight would instead stop in Singapore.

In October 2017, Emirates announced it will end most of its flights between Australia and New Zealand as part of the renegotiated alliance with Qantas, but keep a daily Sydney-Christchurch flight.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said at the time that the changes would allow both airlines to leverage their network strengths. „You can assume it is a win-win,” Joyce told Reuters. “We wouldn’t be extending for another five years if we weren’t getting a win out of it and Emirates certainly wouldn’t be.”

In the latest press release, Webster commented: “With three options to get to Europe… and greater frequency across the Tasman, the ACCC’s decision allows us to continue to jointly provide the best network, the best service and the best frequent flyer programs for millions of customers travelling between Australia/New Zealand and the UK and Europe”.

Key changes in effect from March 2018

  • The choice of three hub options between Australia and UK/Europe – Dubai, Perth and Singapore.

  • From 25 March 2018, QF 1/2 A380 service will operate Sydney – London via Singapore, replacing one of the existing Sydney – Singapore A330 services. The second Sydney – Singapore daily service will continue to be operated by an A330 aircraft.

  • From 25 March 2018, one daily Qantas Melbourne – Singapore service will be upgraded from an A330 to an A380 (QF35/36), with the second three per week service increased to a daily A330 service (QF37/38).