Qantas and Emirates on Sunday marked the official start of their partnership, with the first Qantas flights departing from Sydney and Melbourne to London via the international hub of Dubai.
The partnership marks a new era for Qantas and Emirates, and a seismic change for global aviation, as the two carriers collaborate to deliver the best network, lounges, frequent flyer benefits and travel experiences.
Customers have already responded strongly to the partnership, with over 210,000 sectors booked so far on the joint network.
Qantas said it has seen a sixfold increase in bookings to Europe on the joint network in the first nine weeks of sales compared to the same period last year.
The number of Emirates customers booked to travel on Qantas’ domestic network is almost seven times higher than under Qantas’ previous partnership arrangement in the same nine week period, a statement said.
President of Emirates, Tim Clark, said no other aviation partnership offered customers a coordinated premium airline experience like Emirates and Qantas.
“The strength of this partnership stems from the fact the Emirates and Qantas brands are an excellent match. Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates,” he said.
“Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at DubaiInternationalAirport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership.
“A major benefit is the range of products we are offering frequent flyers. Customers of either airline can leverage many of their privileges when they fly on the joint network, including earning points, redeeming flights and accessing lounges,” added Mr Clark.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, said the partnership would make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians.
“From today, our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network.
“By travelling through Dubai, Qantas customers can connect to the extensive Emirates network into Europe and the UK and fly directly to their destination,” said Joyce.
“The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” added Mr Joyce.
Combined the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne through to London.
The partnership is expected to benefit Australian tourism, with both airlines developing a global marketing campaign to promote Qantas destinations that are now part of the extended Emirates network.
New codeshare destinations such as Hobart, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Port Lincoln are now part of the joint network.
Qantas is also receiving bookings from customers outside of its traditional markets, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Malaysia, for its flights between Dubai and London. These are Emirates customers opting to fly on codeshare flights operated by Qantas.