Emirates will further cut services between Australia and New Zealand as part of a bid by the Gulf carrier and Qantas to extend their partnership to 2023.
The plan put to the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission and New Zealand’s Transport Minister would see Emirates stop flying from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland from March while Qantas boosts services to New Zealand to compensate.
Emirates, which earlier this year axed A380 services between Sydney and Auckland, would instead focus on its non-stop flying between Dubai and Auckland.
The Gulf carrier would retain its daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney and, according to a statement issued by the carriers, would also evaluate potential new direct services to New Zealand from Dubai.
Qantas would add seven return codeshare flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland and an additional two return services per week between Brisbane and Auckland. Some flights would be upguaged from a Boeing 737 to an Airbus A330, it said.
The airlines argue it would provide more year-round frequency and services across the Tasman.
The changes are in addition to Qantas’ already announced decision to ditch Dubai as a stopover and return to Singapore. That move , designed to improve the flying kangaroo’s fleet utilisation and capitalise on the fast-growing Asian market, frees up an Airbus A330 aircraft to fly to a new destination.
It is also dropping its Melbourne-Dubai-London A380 service next year in favour of routing passengers through its new Perth-London non-stop Boeing 787-9 flights.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce said in the joint statement that the network changes provided more options for customers.
“We are now enhancing the partnership to reflect customer demand, new aircraft technology and our respective network strengths,’’ he said.
“The premise of the partnership has always been that we could serve our customers better together.”
The airlines said the changes would also enable Emirates to reschedule its Australia flights to create a better spread of departure times throughout the day.
This would offer customers more choice when connecting to Emirates’ European, Middle East and North African destinations, they said.
Tickets for Qantas’ new Tasman services will be available progressively from tomorrow and Emirates customers with existing bookings on affected flights will be re-accommodated on Qantas services or given the option to change their flights.
In a separate submission, the flying kangaroo is seeking re-authorisation of an agreement that allows it and its Jetstar subsidiary to co-ordinate with Jetstar-branded low-cost carrier such as Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific and Jetstar Japan.
The agreement would allow co-ordination between Jetstar japan and Japan Airlines on routes where their routes overlap or potentially overlap.
It would also allow co-ordination between a Jetstar carrier, a full-service airline shareholder such as Vietnam Airlines and another Jetstar carrier on routes where all three airlines operate.