Qantas and Emirates will join forces in April 2013 in a partnership that will radically redraw the Red Roo’s network map, directing all European flights via Dubai and adding almost 50 destinations in Europe and Africa, while helping speed the recovery of its ailing international operations.
Qantas will retain two daily Qantas Airbus A380 flights, from Sydney to London and Melbourne to London, but both will break their journey at Dubai instead of Singapore.
In a dramatic move, Qantas will end its joint venture partnership with British Airways and all but abandon Singapore as a Qantas hub.
How the Qantas-Emirates alliance will work
As expected, the Qantas-Emirates partnership will involve a codeshare between Qantas and Emirates which will allow the airlines to sell seats on each other’s flights.
Emirates flights will appear on Qantas timetables and carry a QF flight number, with frequent flyers will be able to earn and burn points on Emirates flights and enjoy status-centric perks such as lounge access, priority check-in and a higher luggage allowance – read our report for all the details.
All road lead to Dubai
Qantas will adopt Emirates’ home of Dubai as a new strategically-located hub in the Middle East with daily Qantas flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth headed to Dubai International Airport instead of Singapore.
From there, passengers will transfer onto Emirates flights and head to their final destination – including some 30 cities across the UK and Europe, which is a definite improvement over Qantas' current options of London or Frankfurt.
And yes, one of those Dubai routes is include London, which Qantas already serves via its own flights and a long-standing but soon-to-be-terminated partnership with British Airways, and which Emirates has tagged as ‘the Falcon Route’ – a nod to the Kangaroo Route but named after the United Arab Emirates’ national bird.
In fact, the Kangaroo Route from Australia to London via Singapore will be shut down. Qantas will continue some flights to Singapore but treat the city as a destination rather than a stop-over en route to somewhere else.
Also on the codeshare list will be Emirates’ daily Airbus A380 services from Sydney to Auckland and, starting in October, Melbourne to Auckland – definitely the classiest way to cross the Tasman.
Read our review of Emirates’ Sydney-Auckland A380 flight
Due to the vast capacity of the A380, Qantas is expected to shutter as many as four daily Sydney-Auckland and Melbourne-Auckland flights.
Frankfurt flights axed
Qantas is also ending its daily flights to Frankfurt via Singapore, leaving London as its only European destination.
However, shutting down Frankfurt is expected to allow Qantas to retire some of its oldest and most fuel-guzzling Boeing 747-400s, providing a quick boost to the bottom line.