Qantas Emirates Tie Up – A level playing field Trans-Tasman?

When travelling on a highway besides a large truck have you ever felt uncomfortable in your small car? Perhaps you have got a similar feeling swimming in the ocean knowing your sharing it with creatures that are larger than you and maybe not as friendly as they may look? One of our members this week got a similar feeling flying into Auckland with Qantas.

I know a lot of posts have been critical of Qantas et al., but transiting through Auckland on Wednesday in a way showed how hard the industry has become. There were three Emirates A380 sitting at the airport, almost 50% of the pax capacity there at that time! A Middle Eastern airline with that much capacity at Auckland, to me, does not bear well for the continuing future of local airlines which we are of course seeing, a bit like the boiled frog yarn. But of course I’m absolutely sure there is no subsidy, or extra funding helping the airline industry in the Middle East!!!!

I still think we got the “wrong end of the rope” with the Qantas-Emirates deal, and taxiing in with our QF 737-800 past two of the monoliths seemed to reinforce that feeling….

With the 18 month anniversary coming up for the Qantas Emirates partnership, it is probably a good time to have a look at how things are going. Three A380 aircraft at Auckland is something of an impressive sight, but it’s not a fair test of the partnership as a whole. For some time the Trans-Tasman market has been saturated with capacity from number of airlines. As a result airfares have been a record low levels. Just recently during school holidays, $100 would get you a seat on short notice with LAN Airlines. Putting a big aircraft on a route still means you need to fill it to make money. In the meantime, it seems the local airlines prefers a different strategy.

Qantas chose frequency over capacity, they used to run much larger things on Trans-Tasman runs (B767’s / A330’s and B747’s where pretty much daily sights with a few B737’s to give some frequency), these days they figure people would rather have a choice of hour in which they fly than to have 1 flight per day which everyone takes.

Emirates on the other hand does 1 Trans-Tasman flight (to Auckland) from Brisbane / Sydney / Melbourne each day. It’s that flight or nothing.

Qantas’s main competitor on the route, Virgin Australia’s partner – Air New Zealand, last week reported strong results in the Trans-Tasman market based on a similar strategy. Offering more flights with smaller aircraft, they said customers found it easier to connect to a regional flight of their choice when there were more flight options.

Time will tell if the Qantas Emirates tie up works out for both airlines. In the meantime, passengers have a choice between frequency or the luxury of a wide body service complete with first class options. Do you think Qantas have done the right thing, or is Emirates now your preferred flight across the ditch, have your say HERE.


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