Emirates and Qantas call for easing of trans-Tasman restrictions
Emirates and Qantas have called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to ease restrictions on trans-Tasman routes as the two airlines seek a five-year renewal to their partnership.
In its application to the ACC, the airlines note that direct flights from Auckland to Dubai and on Qatar Airways to Doha have led to a 13 percent reduction the volume of connecting passengers between Australia and New Zealand, a figure which rose to 20 percent among Auckland-bound passengers.
“Qantas and Emirates expect this trend to continue as carriers add more direct services to and from New Zealand in the future,” the application notes.
Additionally, the application says Emirates “is currently evaluating a potential second daily direct service between Auckland and Dubai.”
“If this materialises, it expects connecting traffic to New Zealand via Australia to reduce further,” the report adds.
Emirates scraped its Sydney-Auckland services in July, and in March will end its Brisbane-Auckland and Melbourne-Auckland A380 flights. The only remaining trans-Tasman flight will be from Sydney to Christchurch.
When the ACCC approved the Emirates-Qantas alliance in 2013, it stipulated that the two carriers maintain their current level of capacity on four trans-Tasman routes.
In the ACCC application, the two airlines argue that there is no longer a need for capacity conditions on overlapping Tasman routes.
“Going forward, the applicants do not consider an ongoing capacity condition to be necessary or appropriate, particularly in circumstances where the proposed conduct underpins Qantas’ backfill of Emirates capacity that will otherwise be removed from Auckland,” the application notes.
“A condition serves no effective or efficient regulatory purpose where, in any event and regardless of the proposed conduct, the Qantas Group remains strategically committed to serving the Tasman.”
According to the application, the number of passengers travelling on the combined network doubled from 1.1 million in 2013 to 2.2 million in 2016, and that 527,000 Emirates passengers flew on domestic Qantas flights in Australia between July 2014 and April 2017.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.