Emirates and Qantas could expand their alliance to include flights to North America, Emirates boss Tim Clark has said after revealing the Dubai based carrier is in alliance talks with American Airlines.
Mr Clark said talks with American parent AMR have been ongoing since late last year and involve codesharing and reciprocal frequent flier benefits. He said he hoped to finalise a deal “fairly soon.”
American and Qantas are both part of the oneworld alliance and currently codeshare on flights between Australia and the US. Mr Clark said Qantas’s relationship with American had no bearing on Emirates plan to partner with the US carrier, pointing out that the Qantas-Emirates deal does not extend to the US. However, he added, “that could change.”
American currently codeshares with Emirates rival and Virgin Australia partner Etihad, and it’s not clear what would happen to that deal if Emirates and American reach an agreement. American is also in the midst of reorganisation under US bankruptcy laws after filing for protection from its creditors late last year.
Mr Clark’s comments came during a US trip to mark the launch of direct flights from Dubai to Washington, Emirates’ seventh destination in the US.