Qantas American Joint Venture Meets Heavy Opposition

8th Mar 2016

A group led by Hawaiian and JetBlue are heavily opposing the proposed venture between Australian airline Qantas Airways and U.S-based American Airlines.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Hawaiian Airlines asked that Qantas-American joint venture be approved for only three years. This way, Hawaiian claims, the 'alleged public benefits' of Qantas-American alliance on flights between Australia, New Zealand and U.S. could be much better determined.

Hawaiian wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation:

"Foreign air carrier s that are parties to an immunized alliance generally have been unwilling to reach commercial agreements with independent carriers like Hawaiian to exchange traffic on reasonable terms r make inventory available even if an interline or codeshare agreement is in place."

The letter continues:

"This unwillingness to deal due to the immunized alliances denies market access to independent carriers, depriving the public of the full benefits of competition."

Hawaiian has an interline agreement with Qantas and said it is aware of commercial 'irreparable harm' this venture would cause. The same says Hawaiian, happened after its other interline partner, Virgin Australia, entered a joint venture with Delta Air Lines.

American low-cost carrier JetBlue is also opposing the venture.

Qantas issued an official statement, saying that their alliance with American would not affect their commercial partnership with Hawaiian.

Qantas Ends Frequent Flyer Partnership with Alitalia

Meanwhile, Qantas is also ending its frequent flyer partnership with Alitalia at the end of this month.

As of 31st March, members of either Qantas Frequent Flyer will no longer be able to earn points when flying with the Alitalia. The same goes the other way around for the members of Alitalia Millemiglia flying with the Flying Kangaroo.

A probable reason for the end of Qantas-Alitalia partnership is the fact that Etihad, a part-owner of Virgin Australia, recently bought 49 per cent of Alitalia in an equity investment, making the Italian airline now a member of the Etihad Airways Partners group.

As to whether this means that Virgin Australia could soon be entering a deal with Alitalia similar to what Qantas had, a spokesman for the airline said:

"Virgin Australia is continually looking at new codeshare and interline partner opportunities, however we have nothing to announce at this time."