Qantas is reporting a significant surge in domestic bookings as part of its new partnership with Emirates, which took off on Easter Sunday, March 31.
A formation A380 flyover of Sydney Harbour by Qantas and Emirates superjumbos marked the start of the partnership, one that Qantas says will improve its international network and boost domestic business.
Soon after the flyover, the first Qantas jet from Sydney took off to London via the airline’s new hub in Dubai (replacing Singapore on the ‘Kangaroo Route’), a city Qantas will then codeshare from on Emirates flights to more than 60 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Customers have already responded very strongly to the partnership, with over 210,000 sectors booked so far on the joint network.
Qantas is reporting a sixfold increase in bookings to Europe on the joint network in the first nine weeks of sales compared to the same period last year.
The number of Emirates customers booked to travel on Qantas’ domestic network is almost seven times higher than under Qantas’ previous partnership arrangement in the same nine-week period.
According to the airlines, the partnership “marks a new era for Qantas and Emirates, and a seismic change for global aviation, as the two carriers collaborate to deliver the best network, lounges, frequent flyer benefits and travel experiences”.
Qantas’ Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said the partnership would make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians.
“From [Sunday Mar 31], our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network.
“By travelling through Dubai, Qantas customers can connect to the extensive Emirates network into Europe and the UK and fly directly to their destination,” Joyce said.
“Before [now], the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK with our partners. From [now], we offer access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined Qantas and Emirates network.
“The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” Joyce said.
Combined the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne through to London.
Emirates’ President, Tim Clark, said no other aviation partnership offered customers a coordinated premium airline experience like Emirates and Qantas.
“The strength of this partnership stems from the fact the Emirates and Qantas brands are an excellent match,” he said. “Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates.
“Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at Dubai International Airport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership,” he said.
The partnership is expected to benefit Australian tourism, with both airlines developing a global marketing campaign to promote Qantas destinations that are now part of the extended Emirates network. New codeshare destinations such as Hobart, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Port Lincoln are now part of the joint network.