UPDATE | Qantas this afternoon issued a media statement confirming it is in discussion with Emirates about a "potential alliance".
However, the airline says Emirates is just one of "a number of airlines" with whom potential alliances are being talked through.
"Strengthening alliance partnerships is one of the four pillars of the Qantas Group's five-year strategy. Qantas' policy is not to comment on the nature or status of these discussions."
PREVIOUS | Qantas is reportedly working towards a partnership with Emirates which would dramatically re-draw the Red Roo’s network map with the middle-eastern city of Dubai becoming a new hub for Qantas’s European flights.
The Qantas-Emirates partnership has been bubbling away for some months, and comes almost a decade after the two airlines abandoned plans for a code-sharing agreement.
But much has changed in the market landscape since then, with Emirates’ growth continuing almost unabated to become the world’s largest airline while Qantas seeks to stem the flood of red ink from its loss-making international arm.
A report in today’s Australian Financial Review claims Qantas is “edging closer to a transformational alliance” with Emirates.
“The companies are holding late-stage discussions over a code share agreement that would see Qantas fly to Dubai for the first time and rely on its new partner to transfer passengers to destinations across Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa” writes AFR aviation correspondent Andrew Cleary.
“Qantas would shift a proportion of its flights to London away from Singapore to transit via Dubai, and potentially add extra flights.”
The move would allow Qantas to either retire some of its some older less fuel-efficient aircraft or reroute them to “push into Asia more aggressively.”
“Executives from the two airlines have flown between Dubai and Sydney several times over the past two months, nutting out the framework for the code share” Clearly says.
However, “no agreement has been reached and there are ‘multiple sticking points’ that need to be resolved before any deal can be finalised.”
The move follows the Government’s approval for fellow middle-eastern airline Etihad to boost its share in Virgin Australia to 10%, with Etihad CEO James Hogan already admitting that his airline would consider raising its stake in Virgin as high as 19 per cent.