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ACCC clears Qantas-Emirates deal to 2028

written by Jake Nelson | August 17, 2023

Damien Aiello shot this Qantas 737 and Emirates A380.

The ACCC has officially given Qantas and Emirates approval to collaborate for another five years.

The partnership, which began in 2013 and was re-authorised in 2018, was slated to expire on 31 March 2023, but was granted interim authorisation days before it was up, allowing it to continue while the competition watchdog made a more substantive determination.

Under the deal, the Flying Kangaroo’s customers can book tickets through Dubai, connecting to the larger airline’s huge network, while Emirates passengers enjoy similar perks in reverse. This include routes between Australia and the UK/Europe, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

“We think this continual coordination will benefit travellers by facilitating connectivity between a wide range of destinations as well as optimising earning and redemption opportunities from their respective loyalty rewards programs,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

“Passengers travelling on routes where Qantas and Emirates provide overlapping services will have greater choice of flight times and travel options.”


The ACCC has imposed a condition, however, due to its concern that the deal may impact competition on the route between Sydney and Christchurch, whose only other current operator is Air New Zealand.

“We have granted authorisation with a condition that Qantas and Emirates must provide regular updates on passenger revenue and operating costs to enable us to monitor competition on this route over the next five years,” said Brakey.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in 2021 called the partnership one of “the most significant” in aviation.

“The international aviation market will take years to fully recover so close collaboration between airline partners is going to be more important than ever,” he said.

The partnership requires ACCC approval because it allows a level of collaboration that may otherwise break Australia’s competition rules. It was criticised by AFTA, the peak body for Australian travel agents, which said allowing Qantas and Emirates to collaborate would entrench the two airlines’ market power and not lead to capacity increases.

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