The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has approved the extension of the BA / Qantas Joint Services Agreement on routes bewteen Europe and Australia for a further five years.
Yesterday we reported that BA has made tactical cancellations on its services between London and Sydney via Singapore over the next few months (see online news February 4), but the ACCC’s decision will go some way to safeguarding BA and Qantas operations between the UK and Australia.
The Commission has issued a “draft determination proposing to grant authorisation of Qantas and British Airways’ Joint Services Agreement for a further five years”. The ACCC said that the JSA “is likely to continue to deliver public benefits in the form of lower fares and broader availability of schedule options for air passengers”.
Several Middle Eastern carriers including Etihad, Emirates and Qatar have commenced routes to Australia over the last few years, and the ACCC said that “the increasing competition from other carriers means the JSA is unlikely to result in any substantial lessening of competition in the relevant markets”.
The news comes as BA today announced losses of £50m for the third quarter of 2009, lower than most analysts had expected. The carrier’s investor update and interim management statement have been posted on our forum here.
Report by Mark Caswell