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Qantas announced plans for a far-reaching partnership with Emirates Airline on Thursday, in a move that the Australian carrier hopes will play a key role in restoring its international operations to profit.
Qantas last month reported a net loss of A$244m for the year to June because of its lossmaking international business, which has been battered by competition from carriers including the new breed of Gulf airlines.
The proposed code-share arrangement between Emirates and Qantas should make the Australian carrier more competitive by offering a wider range of destinations to Australians wanting to fly to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Qantas and its partners fly to five European cities, but the Emirates’ code-share will increase that number to 33.
There will continue to be two daily Qantas flights on the Kangaroo route between Australia and London but the existing stopover in Singapore will in future be replaced by one at Emirates’ Dubai hub.
For Emirates, the partnership means it will be able to tap Qantas’s domestic operations for passengers to help fill its fast-growing fleet of aircraft.
One repercussion of the partnership is that Qantas is planning to terminate its 17-year-old joint venture with British Airways on routes between Australia and the UK.
International Airlines Group, British Airways’ parent, is considering how to respond, and has held talks with Qatar Airways, another Gulf carrier, about a potential partnership focused on Asia. No final decisions have been taken.
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