Qantas and Japan Airlines plan joint business venture

23 Dec 2020 by Mark Caswell
Qantas Dreamliner

Qantas and Japan Airlines have unveiled plans to form a joint business venture on routes between Japan and Australia / New Zealand.

An application has been submitted to regulators in Australia and New Zealand, with a decision expected within six months. Providing it is approved, the joint business is expected to commence around July 2021, when Qantas says it “expects its international network to gradually restart”.

The carriers believe that the agreement “would enable Qantas and JAL to ramp up flights between Australia and Japan sooner than would otherwise be possible”, and would allow a new route to be launched between Australia and Japan, details of which would be announced “once regulatory approval is received, borders open and demand returns”.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 - photo by Michael Allen

The joint business is initially proposed to last for five years, and would aim to deliver benefits including:

  • An expanded codeshare relationship and optimised schedules on flights between Australia and New Zealand and Japan
  • Enhanced frequent flyer benefits for Qantas and JAL customers, including the ability to upgrade using points or miles on each other’s services
  • Streamlined processes for disruption management and investments in product and service inflight and on the ground, designed to better serve the carriers’ joint customers
  • More premium travel opportunities, with Qantas able to offer customers a greater number of Business and Premium Economy seats on flights operated by JAL
  • Coordination of pricing, schedules, sales and tourism marketing to develop new and improved travel products, delivering more choice for customers

Japan Airlines President Yuji Akasaka said that the two carriers had operated flights between Japan and Australia for over 50 years, “demonstrating our mutual commitment to support and strengthen the diplomatic relationship built by the two countries”.

Meanwhile Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“Around half a million people visited Australia from Japan in 2019. We want to see that tourism resume and grow even further by making it easier for Japanese travellers to visit.

“The joint business means we’ll be able to build on our existing relationship with JAL through oneworld to offer more routes, better flight connections and more benefits to frequent flyers. It also helps us diversify our portfolio of joint businesses amongst Australia’s key trading partners.

“It will be a win for our customers, a win for trade and a win for the one million people who work in tourism across Australia.”

Last month Joyce said that once vaccines become readily available, proof of a jab would be “a necessity” for passengers wishing to travel abroad, adding that the requirement will be a “common thing” in the aviation industry.

Qantas also recently announced an expansion of its domestic network, following what it calls an “influx of frequent flyers from other airlines switching to Qantas”.

Qantas announces “major expansion” to domestic regional network,

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