Qantas dumped Singapore as the connecting point for its service between Australia and London five years ago when it forged its joint venture with Emirates. This week, as the JV is renewed for another five years, Qantas is cutting its remaining flights to Dubai and moving its London connections back to Singapore. The move is, believe it or not, part of an expanded relationship with Emirates.
— Changi Airport (@ChangiAirport) August 30, 2017
When Qantas shifted its London flights to Dubai the goal was improved feed and better connecting opportunities into Europe. Emirates’ growth in the past five years, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, creates a scenario where it is better suited to handle more of the connecting traffic via Dubai, particularly from the major cities that it serves in Australia. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce explains in the statement:
Our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai, and that means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia.
Qantas, on the other hand, continues to seek ways to connect passengers between Australia and Europe while skipping the connections. The new Perth-London flight launching next year helps on that front. And for the dozen or so cities that can connect via Perth one-stop to London rather than a double-connect also via Dubai this is also arguably good news.
And, while the carrier works to figure out if there are aircraft coming that can connect the east coast of Australia with Europe, Qantas is now back to seeking other connections options that will help maximize passenger flow and augment the Emirates service rather than compete directly with it. The joint venture sees an average of 10,000 Emirates passengers connecting to Qantas’s regional network each month, peaking at 20,000 during high season.
Singapore is a somewhat natural place to return given its relatively good location on the route and strong traffic for each half of the trip. One of the two daily services between Singapore and both Sydney & Melbourne will see A380 service in the IATA North Summer 18 season beginning 25 March 2018. The Qantas shift adds 11 weekly flights at Singapore for next summer, 4 additional to Melbourne and 7 to London.
Given the joint revenue structure it makes sense for Qantas to reposition its fleet to handle a renewed demand in the Asia market. There is also a risk, however, that the carrier cedes too much of the Kangaroo Route traffic to Emirates and loses some of its negotiating power five years hence when renewal is again due.
While the two programs play up the “metal-neutral” nature of the relationship there are certain quirks with respect to loyalty benefits and points earning. Lounge access, elite status credits and other factors come into play depending on the operator of the flight and the marketing carrier. While these inconsistencies match other JVs around the globe, they remain an unfortunate scenario for travelers.
Header Image: Qantas A380 over Sydney via Qantas
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