Qantas and Emirates in trans-Tasman tie-up

MATT O'SULLIVAN
Last updated 12:00 30/07/2013

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Qantas and Emirates will complete the final piece of their extensive alliance on August 14 when they begin to take bookings across the Tasman for travel on their joint network.

The airlines will begin their alignment of fares, frequent-flyer benefits and baggage policies in New Zealand next month as part of their global alliance, which began on routes from Australia to Europe, Asia and the Middle East in late March.

Between them, Qantas and Emirates will operate about 130 services a week from Australia's east coast to Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown.

Emirates senior executive Barry Brown said the trans-Tasman tie up was a "key piece of the Emirates-Qantas jigsaw and further strengthens what we can deliver to passengers".

Under conditions imposed by regulators, the airlines will have to maintain their existing capacity on the highly competitive trans-Tasman routes.

Qantas and Emirates did not provide details today about likely rescheduling of flights and redeployment of planes on the trans-Tasman routes. Emirates flies Airbus A380s to Auckland and Boeing 777s to Christchurch while Qantas operates Boeing 737-800s.

They began talks on co-ordinating services on trans-Tasman routes several weeks ago, which are aimed at ensuring the two airlines' planes do not arrive and depart at the same time.

Between them, Qantas, Jetstar and Emirates have a 40 per cent share of the trans-Tasman market, compared with almost 57 per cent for Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.

In May, the New Zealand government cleared Qantas and Emirates to co-operate on the Tasman for five years, a decision that came almost two months after the Australian regulator gave its approval.

Their rivals, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, gained tentative approval early this month from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to extend their alliance on the Tasman for another three years - two years less than they were seeking.

Releasing its monthly traffic figures, Air New Zealand said demand on trans-Tasman and Pacific routes rose 2 per cent in June, lagging a 3.6 per cent increase in capacity. The latter was due to the airline using a larger aircraft between Auckland and Hawaii.

Air New Zealand's load factors - or seats filled - fell 1.2 percentage points to 82.4 per cent on the Tasman and Pacific routes.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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