6 September 2012 by Luke McCormick
Qantas has announced it will transfer its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai as part of a 10-year commercial agreement with Emirates, ending a longtime partnership with British Airways in the process.
Although there will be no equity investment on either side, the tie-up will be "the biggest arrangement Qantas has ever entered into with another airline".
"It is far bigger than a codeshare. Or even a joint services agreement," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
Dubai will become the Qantas gateway to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Subject to regulatory approval, from April 2013 Qantas's daily Airbus A380 services to London from Melbourne and Sydney will transit via Dubai's Terminal 3, the world's only purpose-built A380 terminal.
"Qantas and Emirates will be the only airlines in the terminal, so we'll have a big
Qantas presence and access to superb lounges and facilities for Qantas
customers," Joyce said.
As part of the move Qantas will withdraw from Frankfurt and commence flying 14 daily Qantas-operated or coded Boeing 777 and A380 flights from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to Dubai.
"It will mean just one stop to 33 European destinations, seven of them serviced all the way by A380s, including Paris and Rome as well as London," Joyce said.
Qantas says making the shift to Dubai will give Qantas customer greater access to Asian destinations.
"By moving our hub for European services to Dubai, we will be able to restructure the Asian network," Joyce said.
"Our Asian services will no longer be a subsidiary of the ‘Kangaroo Route': they
will be dedicated to connecting Australians with our region, and Asian visitors to
"Qantas will increase dedicated capacity to Singapore, and re-time flights to
Singapore and Hong Kong to enable many more ‘same day' connections across
What does it mean for customers?
The two airlines will retain their own distinct style and identity, but have agreed to match key customer benefits.
The biggest benefit will be the vastly expanded opportunities for Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn and redeem their points.
"Qantas and Emirates will provide reciprocal access to tier status benefits, which
include end-to-end recognition of customers, lounge access, priority check-in
and boarding and more," Joyce said.
The partnership will allow Qantas to extend its reach and serve more destinations.
"Qantas alone can't take passengers everywhere - but together Qantas and
Emirates can take Australians just about anywhere," Joyce said.
The Qantas/BA split
The joint business between British Airways and Qantas will come to an end on 31 March 2013, but the airlines will continue to work together as part of the Oneworld alliance and bilateral codeshare agreements.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said, "Over the past 17 years the joint business with British Airways has been central to the Qantas network.
"However, global operating conditions have changed and partnership with Emirates is the right strategy for Qantas."
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said, "We're ending the joint business on amicable terms and support Qantas' decision to work with Emirates.
"This is a small part of our overall network and this move fits in with changes in our global strategy.
"Asia has become a key market focus for IAG and we're talking to a number of airlines about alternative options for us."