ACCC Approves Qantas-American Airlines Alliance for Five Years

28th Feb 2016

Qantas and American Airlines partnership has received the necessary approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Thursday, granting the two airlines a five-year period in which they can offer services across the Pacific together.

Speaking about the approval, Commissioner Roger Featherstone said:

"The ACCC considers this alliance would likely to result in continued public benefits for passengers travelling between Australia and the US through enhanced products and services, including new frequencies and destinations, more online connections, better scheduling, greater loyalty program benefits and improved lounge access."

Mr Featherstone added:

"The alliance is also likely to promote competition between other airlines that provide services on trans-Pacific routes."

Thanks to this partnership, Qantas Airways has become the 41st airline to fly in and out of San Francisco International Airport. The Flying Kangaroo started operating the route in December last year, after a five-year moratorium.

Deputy Director and marketing chief at San Francisco International Airport Kandace Bender welcomed the Australian flag carrier back, saying that the restarted route has already brought more passengers to the airport.

Bender said:

"We are thrilled to have Qantas back, We lost capacity to Australia when United changed from a 777 to a 787 (Boeing) and so we are very excited to have Qantas return, pick up that slack and increase passengers coming to and from Sydney."

She continued:

"We have more than 330 (Airbus) travelling from San Francisco to Sydney and beyond every day so there really is a good market for additional services on that route. And Qantas are telling us that the route is doing well and they are very happy with the load factor. They just started in December at five flights a week and now they have already increased to six flights a week."

According to Ms Bender, the route is proving to be particularly interesting for tech entrepreneurs from Australia, who are looking to travel to the Silicon Valley.

On this matter she said:

"Things are booming in San Francisco with the tech industry right now. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley means there are lots of people going back and forth through the airport."

Only three companies, Qantas Airways, United and Air New Zealand are offering direct flights between San Francisco and Australia and New Zealand.