The Emirates Qantas partnership: A New World Order?

Emirates Qantas

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, Alan Joyce CEO Qantas and John Strickland

I recently had the opportunity to interview President of Emirates Airline, Tim Clark and CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce in Dubai at WTM’s sister event, the Arabian Travel Market. Their new far reaching partnership embracing extensive collaboration on schedules, pricing and product, particularly between markets in Australia and Europe, is an example of how the air transport market continues to change dramatically.

Working together the two airlines have an opportunity to significantly improve their joint profitability whilst also benefiting travellers who will travel on some of the most modern aircraft in service and transit the state of the art facilities at Emirates’ Dubai hub

It is ironic for an industry which operates on such a global basis, that frequently airlines find themselves shackled with regulation based on narrow national interests. Qantas and Emirates, two airlines from different parts of the world, have managed to circumnavigate these complications to conclude their deal but there needs to be more consolidation on these lines

We’ve seen several big US companies come together (United And Continental, Delta And Northwest) and we expect the regulatory green light for the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. In Europe we have seen consolidation via the Lufthansa Group of airlines, Air France KLM and IAG (British Airways and Iberia).  IAG has also taken majority ownership of successful low cost carrier, Vueling

These steps should help to secure better long term stability and financial success for the industry but they don’t yet really indicate a pan continental realignment on a global scale.

The Emirates Qantas deal is more of this ilk and I would expect to see others of this kind in the future. Certainly the leading members of the airline community recognise that global rather than only national or regional linkages are the way to go.

As Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, said at the recent meeting of industry group IATA, people shouldn’t judge the future shape and health of the industry by anything that has happened in the past. We could be witnessing the start of a new world order.

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