Qantas and American Airlines have launched their new joint venture across the Pacific today, to much fanfare. The partnership will involve the two carriers working together to match prices, flights, and operations across the ocean to better facilitate business and flight connectivity.
What are the details?
Before this venture, which went live today, the two airlines were not allowed to discuss price matching, flight coordination, capacity management or other items you might expect two airlines in the same alliance to discuss. It was all rather ad hoc, with Qantas rostering flights based on their own projections with little thought given to their partner.
The two airlines tried to organize a better partnership deal back in 2015, but were denied by the US Department of Transport as they believed that it would reduce competition on the route.
Since then, the airlines have been hard at work restructuring their partnership as to not impact passengers nor create any monopolies, as well as reducing travel times with connecting flights and improve competition with other Pacific joint ventures.
There are currently two other joint ventures on the market:
- Delta Air Lines & Virgin Australia
- United Airlines & Air New Zealand
Essentially this Qantas deal with American Airlines is just leveling the playing field. Financially, this new partnership is expected to save both airlines around $310 million per year.
“The carriers are now expected to begin coordinating their planning, pricing, sales, and frequent flyer activities to offer customers a single proposition on trans-Pacific flights, with new options and customer service enhancements,” the Transportation Department said in its approval report published by Cnet.
What has been the airlines’ reaction?
Heralding in the good news, American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker spoke to Flight Global about how the partnership was a win for passengers who travel across the pacific, with new flights to come and better frequencies.
“[We] now have the opportunity to launch new routes and provide enhanced service with better schedules, additional frequent flyer benefits and continued investments in the overall customer experience”.
Qantas‘ has said the new partnership will “add more than 170,000 seats across the Pacific each year.”
What actual new changes can we expect?
For one, the new Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights linking Brisbane to Chicago and San Fransisco are taking flight thanks to this agreement. On the American side of the partnership, American Airlines will be launching nonstop seasonal services from Los Angeles to Christchurch, New Zealand as well as a new route between Dallas-Fort Worth and Auckland using a Boeing 787 fleet.
Passengers can also now have complete access to lounges for each carrier, no matter if they are flying on American Airlines or Qantas. From the Qantas website, this reads as:
- Qantas International Business Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Honolulu and Los Angeles.
- Qantas International First Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Los Angeles.
- AA Flagship and Admirals Club Lounges throughout North America
Plus, those flying can expect to earn Qantas Points or Status Credits at the normal rate.