Good news if you have been waiting to book on the combined Qantas & Emirates network. Following an interim authorization from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), announced last Thursday, the path has been finally cleared for both the networks to start accepting bookings, albeit in a limited form. In spite of the ACCC interim approval, however, further government and other regulatory authorizations are still pending at this time. Qantas has started accepting bookings from today.
Speaking on the occasion, Simon Hickey CEO of Qantas International mentioned that customers can now start booking on a combined service for travels to Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. Ever since the partnership was announced customers and prospective fliers have shown a great deal of interest. It is impossible for any airlines in the world to be able to travel to all destinations across the globe; yet the combined Emirates – Qantas network will offer their customers a number of new options, allowing them to earn additional frequent flyer points in the process. An additional advantage that most of their customers will notice is the availability of a one stop connection to a number of new destinations across the Middle-East and Europe. Currently Qantas flies to London and then passengers have to opt for other connections.
There are also going to be a huge savings in terms of flight-time. E.g.; in the European sector say if a customers is flying from Sydney to Barcelona, she will have to make two stops, one at Singapore and the other at London. But on the new Qantas-Emirates network she will need to make only one stop at Dubai. A total of 3 hours will be shaved off the travel time!
Emirates have also started accepting bookings on the Qantas network from today. This marks an important day for Emirates as well. This evidently provides the world’s largest international airline access to regional Australian hubs in Hobart and in the Gold Coast via their partnership with Qantas.
Following the favourable decision by ACCC both the airlines have been working closely trying to iron out the remaining areas of co-operation, such as joint pricing, complementary schedules and an expansion of their frequent flyer programs to encompass additional goodies for travellers. Announcements in this regard can be expected to be made in the coming weeks.
At this time, however, bookings can be made by customers on the combined network for travels to commence from March 31 onwards. A number of areas of this new cooperation such as services between Australia and New Zealand will however remain unavailable till additional regulatory and government approvals are obtained. For travellers who are members of the Qantas frequent flyer program, they can earn Qantas frequent flyer points and status credits when they fly on a Qantas marked flight that is being operated by Emirates.