Qantas and Emirates have announced planned network changes under their codeshare deal, intended to improve services between Australia and New Zealand.
The changes are intended to provide more options for customers to travel between Australia and New Zealand and the rest of the world, the airlines said in a statement.
They are also part of Emirates’ plan to increase long haul flights from Dubai to New Zealand. Under the proposals, Emirates will ditch its A380 service from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland from March 2018, and instead focus on its non-stop Auckland to Dubai service.
Emirates will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney, and the airline is also evaluating potential new direct services between New Zealand and Dubai, it said.
At the same time, to provide greater choice across the Tasman, Qantas said it would increase the frequency of its services between Australia and New Zealand, adding seven new return flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland, and two extra return services per week between Brisbane and Auckland. Some of these services are to be up-graded from a Boeing 737 to a wide-body Airbus A330.
These new trans-Tasman services will carry Emirates code and connect to Qantas’ London services via Perth or Singapore, and Emirates’ services between Australia and Europe via Dubai.
The airlines have included the proposed adjustments in an application to regulators the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the New Zealand Minister of Transport to extend their partnership for a further five years until 2023.
Customers flying between Australia and New Zealand, particularly business travellers, will benefit from improved schedule choice, the airlines said.
However, analysts said that around 300,000 seats from 10 million a year could be lost from the trans-Tasman routes, and some warned costs would go up if there were fewer seats.
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said the proposals reduce risk for Emirates and provide it with the opportunity to launch its own direct Dubai to New Zealand flights in future.
“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.
“This de-risks Emirates’ exposure because, in the past, it would have been directly competing with Qantas for that same trans-Tasman and New Zealand traffic.
“Now, the two can hone in on operation synergies, reduce direct competition and harness the benefits of a more interconnected network where Qantas flies between Australia and New Zealand using their own airplanes.”
Emirates airline president Tim Clark, said the first five years of the codeshare partnership had been a success.
“Reauthorisation of the partnership will allow us to leverage our combined network strengths to offer customers even more flight choices and reciprocal benefits for our millions of frequent flyer members,” he said.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce added: “Since 2013 we have delivered more choice and a larger network to eight million passengers who have travelled more than 65 billion kilometres on our joint network.
“We are now enhancing the partnership to reflect customer demand, new aircraft technology and our respective network strengths,” he said.
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