US govt greenlights Qantas & American Airlines joint venture

By John Walton, November 11 2011
US govt greenlights Qantas & American Airlines joint venture

Qantas and American Airlines have received final approval from the US government for their joint business agreement on Pacific flights between Australia/New Zealand and the United States.

Travellers can look forward to better schedule coordination and extra codeshare flights within the United States as a result. That means that (among other things) Qantas Frequent Flyers will be able to earn more points and status credits while flying on American within the US.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's permission for the agreement mirrors an earlier joint venture between Virgin Australia and Delta on Pacific routes.

Of course, the difference is in focus. Both Virgin Australia's V Australia arm and Delta fly across the Pacific, while the closest that American Airlines gets to Australia is Honolulu in Hawaii.

Qantas, by contrast, has flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles, Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth and back via Brisbane, and on the Sydney-Auckland-Los Angeles-New York route.

So the focus for Qantas passengers is unlikely to be more options across the Pacific, with statements from both Qantas and American Airlines that the US half of the partnership isn't planning to send its new planes to Australia since the airlines announced they were applying for the joint business agreement.

A better bet is on finding improved schedule coordination at the Los Angeles and Dallas ends for American's flights across the US, plus the extra codesharing on both airlines.

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.

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