Sunday October 26, 2014

Deadline nears for Qantas-Emirates decision

The ACCC is expected to issue a draft ruling on the Qantas-Emirates tie-up by Christmas. (Rob Finlayson)

Australia’s competition watchdog has affirmed plans to rule on the proposed Qantas-Emirates alliance before Christmas, saying it will release a draft decision by Dec. 20.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims told Fairfax that officials from the organisation were busy writing what would be a long draft decision and said an early release of the verdict was possible but not likely.

The tie-up, announced in September and scheduled to take effect in April 2013, would see Qantas re-route most of its Europe-bound traffic through Dubai. Qantas has said it needs the alliance in order to survive as an international carrier.

Rival Virgin Australia, which operates its own alliance with Etihad, has argued that the Qantas-Emirates tie-up is too broad and would hurt consumers. But the deal has received strong support from government, airports and tourism organisations.