The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded final approval for the planned transpacific joint business agreement (JBA) between American Airlines and Qantas Airways.
DOT approval represented the final regulatory hurdle the two carriers had to overcome to be able to establish their proposed transpacific JBA. Qantas Airways and American Airlines received approval for the JBA on September 30 from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which granted the two airlines five years of anti-trust immunity for the venture.
American Airlines and Qantas Airways, which are both members of the oneworld alliance, says the new JBA will allow the two carriers to coordinate services between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. This means customers can expect better flight schedules, expanded codesharing, more coordinated services, and greater access to a wider variety of fares, according to Qantas and American.
The two airlines will now begin working together on:
● Joint strategic planning and management of trans-Pacific services and ‘behind and beyond’ services within Australia/New Zealand and North America;
● Improvement of flight schedules, frequencies and connection times;
● Joint pricing initiatives resulting in more competitive fares and new fare products, as well as joint marketing of services;
● Increased opportunities for customers of each airline to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles/points on services operated by the other;
● A streamlined offering for corporate customers and for travel agents; and
● The ability to coordinate pricing for the sale of Australia and New Zealand package destinations by AA Vacations, American’s outlet for discount vacation packages.
“The final approval by the DOT will allow American and Qantas to enhance customer service and travel options for our customers flying between North America and Australia and New Zealand,” says Virasb Vahidi, American Airlines’ chief commercial officer. “Qantas is a long-standing and highly valued partner, and together we are supporting each other’s strategic objectives by providing an unparalleled global network for our customers.”
“The launch of Dallas/Fort Worth services has opened up unprecedented access to North America for Qantas customers through codeshares with American Airlines,” says Rob Gurney, group executive Qantas Airlines commercial. “With approval for our joint business agreement, both carriers can now work even more closely together on strategic initiatives that will benefit our customers in both markets.”
In May, Qantas began flying from Sydney to American’s Dallas/Fort Worth hub as a key initiative for a deeper commercial relationship between the oneworld partners and the launch of the JBA. Qantas will increase its Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth service to six frequencies per week in January 2012 and to daily in July 2012.
Developing a strengthened alliance network based around major hub airports is a key aspect of the Qantas Group’s ‘gateway strategy’ to revitalize its international operations, according to the Australian company.
American Airlines already has an antitrust-approved transatlantic joint business with British Airways and Iberia, which are also both members of oneworld and merged earlier this year under the International Airlines Group umbrella.