Qantas pulls application for extended ‘tie-up’ agreement with China Eastern

Qantas pulls application for extended ‘tie-up’ agreement with China Eastern

In the wake of a draft determination notice from the ACCC last month, Qantas has officially announced it will not look to renew its ‘tie-up’ with China Eastern Airlines.

A ‘tie up’ refers to an agreement between two airlines that enables carriers to codeshare on each other’s international and domestic routes as well as offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access to customers.

Qantas and China Eastern Airlines have had an agreement for the past eight years and in March this year, the ACCC granted interim authorisation for the partnership to continue whilst the final decision was being assessed.

Anna Brakey, an ACCC commissioner said the commission was concerned the agreement would have negative impacts on competition given the likelihood of air travel demand between Australia and China continuing to grow.

“At this stage we are not satisfied that the likely harm to competition from Qantas and China Eastern’s proposed co-ordination [sic] would be outweighed by any potential benefits,” she said at the time.

A Qantas spokesperson said the carrier has begun ‘uncoupling’ from China Eastern.

“China Eastern remains an important partner for Qantas,” the spokesman said.

“Our codeshare agreement will continue on routes between Australia and China which both airlines don’t operate, offering Qantas frequent flyers the opportunity to earn and redeem points on selected China Eastern flights.”

Qantas has not returned to the routes it flew to China pre-pandemic, however, was scheduled to begin flying between Sydney and Shanghai on 29 October.

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