Qantas-Emirates alliance approved by ACCC

By John Walton, December 20 2012
Qantas-Emirates alliance approved by ACCC

The Qantas-Emirates alliance has received tentative approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The positive finding in the ACCC's draft determination clears the way for connecting flights from Australia to Europe and Africa via Dubai, joint marketing by both airlines, shared earning and burning of Emirates Skywards and Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status, plus reciprocal lounge access and priority benefits.

However, the ACCC is proposing a five year partnership rather than the ten years sought by Qantas and Emirates.

Qantas-Emirates: the ACCC's draft ruling

In handing down his decision, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said "The considers that the alliance is likely to result in material, although not substantial, benefits to Australian consumers."

Sims pointed out that while "the alliance is likely to result in some public detriments through its effect on competition where Qantas and Emirates currently offer overlapping services. In most of these regions there are factors which are likely to mitigate the public detriment, including continuing competition from a number of established airlines."

The ACCC also flagged a potential drawback for trans-Tasman travellers, saying that "on overlapping routes between Australia and New Zealand the ACCC is concerned that the alliance may have an increased ability and incentive to reduce or limit growth in its capacity in order to raise airfares. Therefore, the ACCC is proposing a condition to restrict the ability of the alliance in this regard."

The official kickoff date for the new alliance is set for 1 April 2013, pending full ACCC approval in a subsequent decision expected in March 2013.

What the Qantas-Emirates alliance means to travellers

Qantas will adopt Emirates’ home of Dubai as a new strategically-located hub in the Middle East. 

Qantas will continue to fly daily to London on its flagship Airbus A380s, however as of 31 March 2013 the daily Sydney-London (QF1/2) and Melbourne-London (QF9/10) services will stopover in Dubai rather than Singapore. (Frankfurt flights will continue to go via Singapore until October 2013.)

If you're heading to any European city other than London, Dubai is where you'll change planes and airlines, with an Emirates flight to your final destination.

This is a substantial win for travellers. With Emirates flying to some 30 cities across the UK and Europe you'll be just one hop from almost every major city, whereas the current Qantas model would have you transfer at London or Frankfurt and take another flight – your third after the Australia-Singapore and Singapore-London/Frankfurt legs.

We've outlined how travel to the UK will change under the Qantas-Emirates hookup, and also explained how Germany and France flights are affected.

Qantas passengers outside Melbourne and Sydney will catch Emirates flights to Dubai -- see what you'll find on board in business class, Emirates' first class suites or the Gulf carrier's somewhat inconsistent economy -- but with the option to be able to funnel frequent flyer points and status credits towards their Qantas account rather than Emirates' Skywards scheme.

But you'll want to read the fine print carefully: you'll collect Qantas status credits only if you book on a Qantas QF flight number, not on an Emirates EK-coded flight.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members will also get reciprocal treatment based on Skywards tiers: if you're a Qantas Gold, for example, you'll have the same perks such as priority checkin, a higher checked luggage allowance and lounge access as a Skywards Gold on Emirates.

For more information: read this set of frequently-asked questions on the Qantas Emirates alliance and visit

For all the very latest news, follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

Nice. Let's now wait and see if there are a few adjustments of EK flights from Dubai to Europe.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

Great news... Now when do Frequent Flyer tickets become available....?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Remember people - check your seats in Y. Emirates use 10-across in many non-A380 aircraft. So if you can just fit in QF Y, you might have issues with EK. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Great to hear some positive news about Qantas! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

Oh good, the Frankfurt via Singapore flight stays a while. Might be useful in winter.

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Have fun transiting through Dubai. About 10 A380's and 15 777's lob at the same time around 5AM - seriously busy and crowded. Read some of the reviews about Dubai Airport - not pretty. Oh, make sure you don't have any medication in your bags either - the restricted list is huge and the resulting action very dire. Don't expect any helpful staff or officials at Dubai Airport - they are about as friendly as a hungry Polar Bear.

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

I went through Abu Dhabi earlier this year with Etihad and I vowed never again - too busy, minimal facilities and disinterested staff. I assumed that Dubai would be much better! Perhaps not then. I guess the Gulf's marketing is winning the battle again Asia's airports, despite the latter's service-orientation.

02 Dec 2011

Total posts 47

Does anyone know how long is the transit in Dubai for the QF A380 flights to LHR?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

Currently not stated when attempting dummy booking.

10 Jun 2011

Total posts 56

Ozkid transit time on the ex Australia flights is 90 minutes for the Sydney flight and 1.45 hours for the Melbourne flight.  On the inbound 2 hours and 5 minutes for Sydney and Melbourne 1.35 hours. 

The timings of the flights will allow Emirates to offer an hourly service between Dubai and London vv over some of the busiest travel times of the day

The Qantas flights are scheduled in and out over the two really peak periods for DXB airport, air traffic control gets badly congested, so it is quite normal to circle when landing in DXB. 

As already mentioned the terminal gets badly overcrowded so it can be a really unpleasant experience, so there is probably some padding in the scheduling to take that into account as everyone will have to come off the flight and go through a security check

T3 should alleviate some of that pressure but when you look how many new aircraft EK is to receive in the next 12 months, and the business class lounge will accommodate 2000 passengers it gives you an idea of just how big and busy the airport is


09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

I was in First class and was able to use the lounge - however due to the amount of aircraft coming and going, it was crowded. The security scanning queues actually take up most of the 90 minutes and there is no leaving the queue if you are needing a bathroom run - which is also leads to another queue. It was unpleasant watching economy passengers panicking over missing connections and grumbles or rude instructions from Airport staff.

Cabin bags are rechecked even if you have been through comprehensive screening in London - and they rudely turn out everything regardless of how delicate it may be and chuck it around like last week's lunch. Any requests from passengers to be careful with personal items are met with a blank stare and care factor zero attitude at best - usually the officials yell rudely and make the effort to take longer than they need.

I will be avoiding UAE at all costs - even if I have to pay extra for the Virgin/SQ tie up through Singapore. The best and greatest for me would be if Virgin Australia was to get their hands on some 777LR's and leap from Perth to LHR without the enduring the Dubai nightmare.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 129

Interesting news.. Im not sure what my opinion is yet... I would think the competion to Europe will strengthen out of Australia, ( more carriers) . Also pricing? Does anyone know if both airlines will offer the same price per ticket? If so ? then both airlines products ( service) would have to change .i.e one airlines product will have to lower or the other will have to improve . I let you all decide which ones which :)

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 1

Customer service at Dubai isnt exactly top priority. 

Didnt QANTAS announce a few months ago, they were going to axe the Syd-Frankfurt Flight??

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