Qantas and Emirates Inaugural Flight – Alan Joyce
Today is one of the most important in the 92 year history of Qantas.
Our partnership with Emirates is one of the biggest deals we’ve ever done – and it is also one of the most strategically important.
Qantas is an Australian icon. Aussies love stepping on a Qantas aircraft when they are overseas, because it feels like they are already home.
But no airline – whether you are Qantas or whether you are Emirates – can fly everywhere.
That is why both airlines have joined to offer customers one of the biggest networks and the best travel experiences around.
What the partnership delivers
From today we’re offering Qantas customers the best lounges, the best frequent flyer proposition, the best list of destination, and the biggest joint fleet of A380s.
All of this will make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians.
Customers can choose from almost 100 flights a week between Australia and the global hub of Dubai.
Dubai is the right hub for the 21st century Qantas: a global city within eight hours’ flying of 75 per cent of the world’s population.
It is our gateway to more than 65 ‘one stop’ destinations in Europe, the UK, North Africa and the Middle East.
If you want to go to Madrid or Milan or Manchester, you won’t need to fly all the way to London and then wait for another flight to reach your destination. You can fly direct from Dubai.
On average, it will now take Qantas customers an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes less to get to the top 10 destinations in Europe (from Sydney and Melbourne), compared with our former network.
Qantas will still fly all the way to London, as we have for around 50 years.
We have two A380 services a day – one from Sydney, one from Melbourne.
In fact, today marks an important piece of history for the Kangaroo route.
Qantas used to travel through the Middle East to get to London.
But longer range aircraft in the 1970s meant we could fly direct through Asia, and saw Middle East stopovers cease.
Today, the Kangaroo Route again hops through the Middle East.
Strong forward bookings
Ever since we announced the Qantas and Emirates partnership six months ago, the feedback has been very positive.
And customers are already voting with their feet.
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.
As well as benefits to Qantas and to Australian travellers, this partnership will boost local tourism.
Emirates is selling seamless itineraries beyond Australia’s major capitals to our regional tourism and business centres – 32 destinations in total, including Cairns and Hobart and the Gold Coast.
The number of Emirates customers booked to travel on Qantas’ domestic network is running at almost seven times higher than under Qantas’ previous partnership arrangement.
We expect benefits for inbound tourism, with Qantas’ global sales force now able to pitch Australia to a bigger audience than ever before.
Spirit of partnership
For the past six months, a lot of people from both Qantas and Emirates have put in a lot of hard work for today.
Qantas has set up a new hub in Dubai and Emirates has made room for their first ever airline partner.
From the frequent flyer programs, to baggage policies to IT systems – I’d like to thank everyone from both airlines who have worked so hard to help make this a reality.
In particular, I’d like to thank Tim for his support and commitment, which started almost a year ago in the Blue Mountains when we met to see if our two airlines could connect the globe.
Tim, I look forward to our two airlines having a long and very positive partnership.
Minister Albanese – we are very grateful to you for taking the time out of your schedule to join us on our first service to Dubai.
We’re also very grateful for the level of interest and support you have offered to this partnership since day one.
The regulatory process was rigorous and independent – as it should be – but the encouragement that you offered us on behalf of the government was a constant and reassuring presence.
I started by saying this is one of the biggest day’s in the history of Qantas – and that’s because of the role the partnership will play in our future.
There are many ways in which we’re building a stronger Qantas – both in the domestic and international market.
This joint network with Emirates is a key part of tackling the structural challenges that Qantas International has faced.
But more than that, it is a seismic shift in global aviation market.