Qantas, Emirates reject “naive" rivals

Qantas, Emirates reject “naive" rivals
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Qantas and Emirates have jointly dismissed concerns at their proposed tie-up by rival airlines, branding them “counterfactual and conflicting.”

In a submission to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), Qantas general counsel Brett Johnson accused Virgin Australia of making a “thinly veiled attempt” to minimise Qantas International’s competitive position with its own “formidable” alliance the beneficiary.

Johnson refuted Virgin’s claim that the deal would see airfares inflated while stifling competition. Instead, he described the proposed alliance as “part of the ebb and flow of competition” and denied its fares would be higher than those of other airlines.

Furthermore, he rubbished Virgin’s claim the deal contradicted Qantas’ assertion it was winding down its European operations on the back of an ailing international arm, branding them “naive and wrong”.

“The network changes do not involve any expansion of Qantas operations to Europe,” he wrote. “Qantas does not expect to be able to sustain services to Europe in the medium to long term in the absence of the Proposed Conduct.”

Johnson also dismissed Air New Zealand’s suggestion that trans-Tasman operations should be considered separately from long haul markets, insisting the services are integral to the global partnership’s offer of a “seamless end-to-end” customer experience.

British Airways’ submission outlining the alliance’s impact on its ability to sustain operations to Australia was also groundless, he continued, stressing the JSA between the two former allies will be terminated “irrespective” of whether the Emirates tie-up proceeds.

Meanwhile, in its own submission, Emirates argued that the benefits of the arrangement “outweigh any detriments” and insisted that a lesser level of cooperation would be unable to deliver the same public benefits.

The Dubai-based carrier said its major competitors understood the importance of alliances in the current aviation landscape, referring to arguments made in favour of their own partnerships.

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