Virgin Blue and Etihad have hit back at Qantas’s opposition to their alliance plans, claiming that the carrier has been “self-serving” in its complaints.
Through a Sydney based law firm, the two airlines made a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) addressing a number of the concerns that Qantas has raised to the two airlines seeking interim authorisation for their alliance. In particular, the four page submission claims that if Qantas’s arguments were adopted to block the alliance that it would have a detrimental effect on competition.
“If Qantas’s position was to be adopted, it would simply have the self-serving result of delaying a pro-competitive initiative in which Virgin Blue, through V Australia, and Etihad Airways will provide increased competition to Qantas. Delaying the alliance would be to the detriment of passengers,” the submission read.
In addition, it also noted that there were a number of conflicts between Qantas’s assertions that interim authorisation should not be granted and its own application for interim authorisation for a previous alliance with Orangestar Holdings, the previous holding company of Jetstar Asia and Valuair.
Virgin Blue has requested that its Etihad alliance be granted interim authorisation to allow the two airlines to begin jointly marketing services to and beyond Abu Dhabi as soon as possible. Under current plans, V Australia will commence services from February next year on the Sydney-Abu Dhabi route in partnership with Etihad while the two carriers will begin extensive codesharing arrangements across their networks.
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