Qantas, Emirates Alliance Finally Lifts Off

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 17, 2013 7:09 PM EST

The much touted Qantas and Emirates alliance will now finally lift off after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Thursday gave the two airline companies the awaited interim approval for its partnership.

This meant that under the provisional approval, Qantas and Emirates may start working on the alliance, including selling tickets for use from April 1 once final authorisation is granted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

"For consumers, interim authorisation means we can provide details on fares and allow people to book one-stop destinations on most parts of the combined Emirates and Qantas network," Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive, said in a statement.

"This decision means we can determine pricing, capacity and scheduling with Emirates, in addition to the more logistical aspects of the partnership that we have been working through already."

Under the alliance, Qantas will codeshare with Emirates on flights to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia as well as across the Tasman. Moreover, Qantas will stop-off all flights at Dubai, rather than Singapore, which are bound for London and other European destinations.

Rod Sims, ACCC chairman, said the alliance was approved as the commission saw that the public stands to benefit more from it, rather than the opposite.

"In most regions, this detriment is likely to be mitigated by a number of factors, including continued competition from a number of established airlines," he said in a statement.

Qantas said it will work to make available by April 1 the fares on the two airlines' combined networks.

Matthew Spence, analyst from Bank of America Merril Lynch, said Qantas could rake in as much as $150 million in annual benefits from the alliance. The Flying Kangaroo reported a $216 million loss in 2010/11 and $450 million loss in 2011/12.

Stocks of Qantas jumped 1.8 per cent to A$1.57 on the news.

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