Emirates and Qantas have signalled their intention to further extend their “cornerstone partnership” until 2028, with an option to renew for another five years beyond that.
The joint business first launched in March 2013 following the termination of the long-standing BA-Qantas Joint Services Agreement, and saw Qantas switch its Sydney-London flights to route via Emirates’ hub in Dubai.
The agreement initially ran for a five-year period before being extended until 2023.
It includes coordination of pricing, schedules, sales and tourism marketing on approved routes, with customers and frequent flyers of both airlines having access to “an expansive joint network, and millions of reward seats to travel across Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK”.
The carrier said that more than 13 million passengers had travelled on the joint network since it launched, with over 13,000 Emirates passengers travelling on Qantas’ domestic and regional services within Australia each month on average.
The extension to the agreement was signed by Emirates President Tim Clark and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce at the International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting in Boston.
The two carriers will now have to seek re-authorisation from relevant regulators including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
In a statement the Emirates and Qantas said that “both airlines are making millions of reward seats available for frequent flyers to access more than 100 destinations to using their Qantas Points or Skywards Miles, which many have been stockpiling throughout the pandemic”.
The carriers also said that the deal provides access to over 55 Australian destinations for Emirates customers that the Gulf carrier does not fly to, while Qantas customers are able to fly on Emirates to Dubai and access over 50 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, that the Australian flag carrier does not fly to.
Commenting on the news Clark said that the extension “reflects our commitment to ensure customers travelling to and from Australia, a market which we have served for 25 years, continue to have the best connections and frequent flyer benefits”.
Meanwhile Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said:
“This marks the continuation of one of the most significant bilateral partnerships in aviation. We called it ‘seismic’ when it launched in 2013 and it has been, especially in terms of what it’s meant for over 13 million people who have travelled on flights that form part of the deal.
“The premise of our partnership with Emirates has always been that no airline can fly everywhere but combined we can fly to most of the places our joint customers want to travel to. And that we treat each other’s customers as our own.
“We know the international aviation market will take years to fully recover so close collaboration between airline partners is going to be more important than ever.”
Last month the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission blocked plans for a new joint business between Qantas and Japan Airlines, stating that the agreement was “not in the public interest”.