Qantas pins Asia, profit hopes on Emirates deal
SYDNEY (AFP) - Embattled Australian carrier Qantas said on Sunday its lagging international business was expected to break even again from 2014 after a tie-up with Emirates it hopes will help it refocus on Asia.
Qantas has described the 10-year partnership with Emirates, unveiled last week and subject to regulatory approval, as "momentous" for the industry and an important step in reversing its haemorrhaging international arm.
The alliance, expected to be operational in April 2013, will see Qantas's hub for European flights shift to Dubai from Singapore, ending a lengthy partnership with British Airways on the so-called Kangaroo route to London. It will extend beyond code sharing and joint services to include coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling and a benefit-sharing model, although neither airline will take equity in the other.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce said it was the biggest deal in the airline's history and "the biggest deal I think we're ever going to do". "We were missing continental Europe as a strong partnership... it also fixes the gap we had in North Africa and the Middle East and frees us up to fix the issues that we have in Asia," Mr Joyce told ABC television.