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Mon 3 Jun 2013 01:14 PM

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Qantas defends poor start to Emirates tie-up

Australian airline says downturn due to 'uncertainty' surrounding alliance with Dubai carrier

Qantas defends poor start to Emirates tie-up
(Getty Images)

Australian airline Qantas has defended the poor start to its alliance with Dubai-based carrier Emirates after its international passenger numbers fell 7.2 percent.

The groundbreaking tie-up kicked off on March 31 amid claims it would provide customers with the best network coverage and access to lounges and frequent flyer programmes.

But in the first month, Qantas International carried 463,000 passengers compared to 496,000 in April last year.

Its load factor, a key indicator of the airline’s profitability, also fell from 82.1 percent to 77.8 percent.

In a statement to Arabian Business on Monday, a Qantas spokesperson said the downturn was not surprising because there was some uncertainty surrounding the alliance, which was only confirmed on March 27 when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted approval. 

“Many of our international customers book their international travel several months in advance so it is no surprise that this uncertainty had an effect on forward bookings for the month of April,” the spokesperson said.

“Additionally, the withdrawal of Qantas Frankfurt service and changes to the Asian network as a result of re-routing Qantas services to the UK via Dubai instead of Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok also adversely impacted sales.”

In March, Qantas said there had been a six-fold increase in bookings to Europe on the joint network compared with the same period last year, while the number of Emirates customers booked to travel on Qantas’ domestic network increased almost seven times.

The spokesperson said Qantas had carried about 250,000 passengers through Dubai in the first two months of the emirate replacing Singapore as the Australian carrier’s new hub.

“We’re getting great anecdotal feedback from customers about Dubai as a hub – from the new terminal, to the lounges to the fact they don’t have to backtrack from London to reach Europe,” the spokesperson said.

The alliance means all of Qantas’ European flights now operate via Dubai. That has caused some angst among Australians who fear passengers may unwittingly get into trouble due to the emirate’s more conservative laws.

There also was some backlash against the airline’s decision to ban pork on its menu following the move to Dubai.

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procan 6 years ago

Qantas has sold it soul its day are numbered.

RAH 6 years ago

It was a smart move by Qantas actually. Without of which, its days would be numbered even less.

Lets hope it works.

Mohamed 6 years ago

I think we will see the true results after 1 year of partnership, then we can judge .

Sam from Canada 6 years ago

@procan
I am sure QANTAS will outlive Air Canada any day. To say "its days are numbered" is but naive and manifests ignorance of facts.

QANTAS can beat Air Canada in almost any comparison one does - and the Emirates alliance makes commercial sense which is WHY it was done. Dubai has neither the political clout, nor size to pull this off if it was not a win-win for both parties (and more so Qantas, who were hemorrhaging money on the international routes and simply could no longer sustain them).

Captcha 6 years ago

Dear Sam, your comments and opinion is no way Canadian. What are you doing there?

procan 6 years ago

Rah..... it is a smart move by Emirates no doubt about it. It is the end for Qantas as Australia National Flag carrier. Australia new flag carrier is the UAE.

Sam from Canada 6 years ago

Just cos I am Canadian, does not mean that I have to fly/like Air Canada and/or everything Canadian. I am just calling an apple an apple - and trying not to be stereotyped as many of us tend to get. Its a competitive world, and we have to respect/appreciate competition, rather than just bad mouth them. The best reply to a competitor would be to beat them at their own game - but sadly we have no agility/vision/money to do so. Till such time (if and when we can), best to cheer them on. At least that way we are seen to be honest rather than racist, (which many of us actually tend to be - knowingly, or unknowingly).

procan 6 years ago

Given your reply to Captcha why why do you remain in Canada?Certainly not for love of Canada .Cheering the adversary nice one Sam, will share that my Liberal friends see how that works.