Emirates and Qantas have signed an agreement to extend an extensive joint venture partnership between the two airlines through to the end of 2028 so long as competition regulators grant approval for the continued tie-up.
Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas managed to skirt Australia’s ban on international travel to attend to sign the agreement at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Boston where he met up with Emirates’ long-serving president Sir Tim Clark.
The partnership launched in 2013 in what the two airlines described at the time as a “seismic” moment. In the eight years since more than 13 million passengers have travelled on the joint network.
Under the terms of the deal, Emirates passengers have access to 55 destinations in Australia that Emirates doesn’t fly to, while Qantas passengers are offered seamless connectivity to 50 cities across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that Qantas doesn’t fly to (before or after the pandemic).
The partnership allows for codesharing arrangements as well as coordination of pricing, schedules and marketing efforts.
“Despite the challenges of the past 18 months, today’s announcement reinforces that Emirates is here for the long-haul,” commented Sir Tim Clark after the renewal agreement was signed between the two airlines.
“As borders re-open, we look forward to restoring our Australian flight schedules including our popular A380 services, and to welcoming customers to experience our best-in-class partnership for many more years to come,” Sir Tim continued.
When the partnership first started in 2013, Qantas rerouted its Europe-bound Airbus A380’s through Dubai to provide maximum connection options but in 2017, Qantas abandoned Dubai in favour of its old stopover point in Singapore.
When Qantas restarts flights to Europe, the airline wants to connect in Darwin but will return to Singapore if a deal can’t be struck with leaders in the Northern Territory.
The partnership has caused significant strain between Qantas and its fellow oneworld partner Qatar Airways which offers a similar route network to Emirates and is also based in the Persian Gulf.
Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways has accused some oneworld members of “disrespecting” his airline – which was seen as an attack on Qantas over its partnership with rival Emirates.
The spat saw Al Baker threaten to quit oneworld but Qatar Airways has since committed remaining part of the alliance.
The current partnership between Emirates and Qantas is approved through 2023 and the five-year extension to take it through to 2028 will have to be cleared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The two airlines have also added an option to extend the partnership through to 2033.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.