Emirates, Qantas deal wins interim backing

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(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

Emirates Airline has welcomed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCCs) decision to grant interim authorisation for its proposed partnership with Qantas.

The partnership still remains subject to final authorisation from the ACCC, a decision on which is expected in March.

“The interim approval clears the way for Emirates and Qantas to be geared up to provide customers with a unified experience from day one,” said Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline.

“The Emirates and Qantas partnership will provide customers unparalleled access to the respective networks and services including the A380 experience.”

Fares on the combined network, which would be for travel after April 2013, are expected to be available in coming weeks once discussions on pricing have taken place.

On Thursday, the ACCC said it had granted interim authorisation, subject to a condition, for the proposed alliance which will see the two airlines cooperate on passenger and freight operations across their networks.

The applicants plan to undertake certain preliminary steps to prepare for the proposed implementation of the alliance in April, the ACCC said in a statement.

“The ACCC is allowing Qantas and Emirates to start implementing their alliance because of the long lead time required to market and sell tickets before the commencement of long-haul services,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“In its draft determination issued in December the ACCC formed the preliminary view, after conducting a detailed assessment, that the public benefits resulting from the alliance are likely to outweigh the public detriment which may result through its effect on competition where Qantas and Emirates offer overlapping services.

"In most regions, this detriment is likely to be mitigated by a number of factors, including continued competition from a number of established airlines,” he added.

Under interim authorisation, the applicants will be able to commence activities that will enhance the product and service offerings to Qantas and Emirates customers, he said.

The ACCC said it may review its decision on interim authorisation at any time and it should not be taken to be indicative of whether or not final authorisation will be granted.

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