ACCC grants draft approvals to Emirates and Etihad for links to low cost services and Germany flights
The two UAE carriers, Emirates and Etihad have won important draft approvals for commercial initiatives which will expand their product offerings in Australia.
The ACCC says it proposes to finalise its approval for an affiliation agreement between Emirates and the FlyDubai low cost regional carrier based at its Dubai hub which would allow combined fares and itineraries to be offered to consumers in this country.
FlyDubai is a rapidly growing single class 737 equipped carried owned by sovereign interests in Dubai, but isn’t part of the Emirates Group.
The ACCC’s other draft approval will allow Etihad to jointly sell flights between Germany and Australia with Air Berlin, in which it holds a 29% equity, using connections at Abu Dhabi.
Etihad purchased its stake in Air Berlin for the stated purpose of gaining access to the Germany market, in which its larger UAE rival, Emirates has long been the major carrier between German cities and Australia.
Air Berlin has rights to fly to Abu Dhabi from German cities currently unavailable to Etihad in its own right because the available air treaty capacity between Germany and the United Arab Emirates has largely been prior allocated to Emirates.
Etihad has an alliance with Virgin Australia. Emirates has a policy of not engaging in airline alliances, but has been speculated to have been in discussion about a closer relationship with Qantas immediately before Qantas suddenly remembered to inform the ASX of a profit downgrade of up to 91% on an underlying profit basis on 5 June, 25 days before the end of the current financial year.
The Qantas share price collapsed immediately after that disclosure, and has languished at near record lows since then.
In another decision announced today the ACCC also said it proposed renewing or adding to approvals for Star Alliance carriers to make combined offers to the corporate conventions and meetings markets in Australia.