Emirates is keen to extend its alliance with Qantas for another five years and also wants to boost the number of its flagship Airbus A380s flying to Australia.
The historic but in some quarters controversial Qantas/Emirates partnership was forged in 2013, and saw the Flying Kangaroo end its long-standing joint venture with British Airways in favour of a five-year hook-up with the Gulf airline.
This also meant ditching Singapore for Dubai as the stop-over for flights to the UK and Europe – although according to our recent poll, 42% of Australian Business Traveller readers still prefer to break their journey in Singapore, compared to barely 11% for Dubai.
However, the Qantas/Emirates alliance put scores of European destinations – including a half-dozen in the UK – just one stop away from Emirates' hub in Dubai.
And those flights are so full that Emirates president Tim Clark is eager to continue his relationship with the Red Roo.
“I see no reason why we won’t continue with the arrangement,” Clark told leading UAE newspaper Gulf News.
“It’s doing really well at the moment. We’re filling our aeroplanes up, they’re filling our [aeroplanes and] we’re putting a lot on their domestic network,” Clark said.
Qantas and Emirates originally petitioned the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a ten-year partnership, but the consumer watchdog allowed only half that span.
Clark is confident that the ACCC will back a re-up of the deal for a second five years.
“As long as Alan Joyce is there and I’m here at Emirates and the Emirates team is working closely together with Qantas it will just be a continuation,” he said.
Since the alliance began in 2013 Emirates has pulled ahead of Singapore Airlines to claim number two spot on the leaderboard of Australia's most popular international airlines after Qantas itself.
As of December 2014, Qantas and Emirates combined carried 24.7% of passengers to and from Australia – almost one in four international travellers – with Virgin Australia partner Singapore Airlines in third place at 8.6 per cent.
That continued growth, and potentially a continued partnership, could see Emirates roster more A380 superjumbos to Australian cities.
“Getting onto any of our Australian aircraft, you’ve got to be heroic to get a seat because we just don’t seem to have any," Clarke said. "We need more A380s going to Australia."
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