Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Emirates, Qantas seek to extend tie-up

Qantas and Emirates plan to increase their direct services to New Zealand SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link
Preston Stone | 12 October, 2017, 10:24

The announcement follows Emirates' decision earlier this year to cease its service between Auckland and Sydney.

From March 2018, Emirates will stop flying daily services to the New Zealand city of Auckland via Melbourne and Brisbane and will only continue its non-stop Auckland-Dubai service.

Qantas will look to add seven return flights a week between Melbourne and Auckland, and two more Auckland-Brisbane flights.

The move represents a capacity reduction on the Tasman given Qantas operates a mix of Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s on its Australia-New Zealand services, which have fewer seats than Emirates' A380 flights.

The change comes as demand for the routes increase and the airlines are also committing to provide more options for customers between Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Today the airline announced it will quit flying from Auckland across the Tasman completely from next year although will retain its direct flight to Dubai and daily Christchurch to Sydney and Dubai flights.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said the route was "flakey" for the airline and no longer worked financially.

Emirates said the end of its own flights between Auckland and Australia would allow for schedule changes for a "better spread of departure times" on services to and from its Dubai hub.

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The carriers say that the changes have been included in their joint submission to New Zealand and Australian competition authorities seeking an extension to their alliance until 2023.

"We're hopeful that as Air New Zealand and Qantas subsidiary, Jet Connect expand their trans-Tasman operations, the result will be more work for cabin crew based in Auckland".

Emirates customers with existing bookings impacted by the changes will be re-accommodated onto Qantas services or will be given the option to change their flights.

"It's been a very successful sponsorship for us over many years", he said.

"By ending flights between Melbourne/Brisbane to Auckland, Emirates will benefit from reduced costs while customers will be able to better and seamlessly connect on Qantas on journeys to New Zealand", said Saj Ahmad, analyst at London's StrategicAero Research.

"And equally, traffic from New Zealand can better connect with Qantas and then Emirates for flights to Dubai and the wider GCC - a market not served by Qantas or even Air New Zealand itself - so the potential to leverage the strength of Emirates own regional network and also by extension through partner flydubai will better serve customers flying out of New Zealand that now have no direct options to get to the GCC", said Ahmad.

Centre for Aviation (CAPA) commentary ahead of the August news, said Qantas had the upper hand in the partnership, but that it was worthwhile for Emirates to maintain the deal to avoid the risk of Qantas teaming up with an Emirates competitor.

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