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Qantas alliance gets green light

Sydney - The alliance between Australia's Qantas Airways and Emirates Airlines won approval from the consumer watchdog on Wednesday ahead of this weekend's first codeshare flight to London - with Dubai the refuelling stop rather than Singapore.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved a deal ending Qantas's 17-year partnership with British Airways and allowing the sharing of frequent-flier points between the two partners.

The tail of a Qantas airplane is seen through the glass panels of a waiting area inside the Sydney Airport in Australia. The alliance between Qantas Airways and Emirates Airlines won approval from a consumer watchdog on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters

“The ACCC is satisfied that the alliance is likely to result in material, but not substantial, public benefits,” commission chairperson Rod Sims said in a statement.

The five-year licence will also see the pair co-operating on flights to and from New Zealand under protocols set by the commission.

The commission had already allowed provisional approval, allowing the partners to sell tickets for Sunday's inaugural Sydney-London flight.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce said when the deal was struck that it would help stem losses on the former state-owned airline's international operations.

“This is the biggest arrangement Qantas has ever entered into,” he said.

Emirates chief Tim Clark described the deal as offering a “seamless customer experience”.

The 10-year agreement with Emirates, which does not include an equity swap, follows domestic rival Virgin Australia's sale of a 10-percent stake to Emirates' Middle East rival, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. - Sapa-dpa

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