Qantas and Emirates have marked the official start of their historic partnership, with the first Qantas flights departing from Sydney and Melbourne to London via the international hub of Dubai.
The partnership marks a new era for Qantas and Emirates, and a seismic change for global aviation, as the two carriers collaborate to deliver the best network, lounges, frequent flyer benefits and travel experiences.
Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Alan Joyce, said the partnership would make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians.
“From today, our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network.
“By travelling through Dubai, Qantas customers can connect to the extensive Emirates network into Europe and the UK and fly directly to their destination,” said Mr Joyce.
“Before today, the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK with our partners. From today, we offer access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined Qantas and Emirates network.
“The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” added Mr Joyce.
Combined the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne through to London.
President of Emirates, Tim Clark, said no other aviation partnership offered customers a coordinated premium airline experience like Emirates and Qantas.
“The strength of this partnership stems from the fact the Emirates and Qantas brands are an excellent match. Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates,” he said.
“Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at DubaiInternationalAirport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership.
“A major benefit is the range of products we are offering frequent flyers. Customers of either airline can leverage many of their privileges when they fly on the joint network, including earning points, redeeming flights and accessing lounges,” added Mr Clark.
Customers have already responded very strongly to the partnership, with over 210,000 sectors booked so far on the joint network. Qantas has seen a sixfold increase in bookings to Europe on the joint network in the first nine weeks of sales compared to the same period last year.
The number of Emirates customers booked to travel on Qantas’ domestic network is almost seven times higher than under Qantas’ previous partnership arrangement in the same nine week period.
The partnership is expected to benefit Australian tourism, with both airlines developing a global marketing campaign to promote Qantas destinations that are now part of the extended Emirates network. New codeshare destinations such as Hobart, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Port Lincoln are now part of the joint network.
Qantas is also receiving bookings from customers outside of its traditional markets, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Malaysia, for its flights between Dubai and London. These are Emirates customers opting to fly on codeshare flights operated by Qantas.
As part of the Qantas-Emirates partnership, today also marks:
– A return to a Middle East stopover for the Kangaroo route (Sydney-Dubai-London and Melbourne-Dubai-London) following a 30 year absence while it operated via Asia.
– Lounge access for eligible Qantas and Emirates passengers into either airline’s network in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the UK and Europe.
– Chauffeur Drive for Qantas Business and First Class passengers on flights (matching Emirates’ existing service).
– The ability to redeem existing Qantas Frequent Flyer or Emirates Skywards points for flights to 175 destinations worldwide, on both airlines.
– Reciprocal status recognition for frequent flyers across both networks (e.g. priority check-in for Qantas Gold Frequent Flyers when flying Emirates).
– Harmonised baggage policies, including an increase in Qantas’ Economy checked baggage allowance from 23kg to 30kg.
Today’s inaugural Qantas flights via Dubai also see the introduction of a suite of new product enhancements in First and Business Class (see Press Pack).
*Subject to government and regulatory approval. As at 31 March 2013, some Qantas codeshare services on Emirates remain subject to regulatory approval.
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