Home / Shipping / Aviation/ Australia’s Qantas drops Dubai stop for Singapore in shakeup of Emirates deal

Australia’s Qantas drops Dubai stop for Singapore in shakeup of Emirates deal

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 11 September 2017 00:03

  • Qantas keeps alliance with Emirates but drops Dubai flights
  • Europe-bound layover in Singapore instead
  • Move is part of Asia expansion, after airline’s turnaround 

SYDNEY (Reuters): Australia’s Qantas Airways will not fly to Emirates’ Dubai hub from next year and instead re-establish its Singapore stopover, redrawing a five-year-old alliance with the Gulf carrier to focus on Asian demand.

Qantas had made Dubai its hub for European flights under a 10-year deal it agreed with Emirates in 2012, as Qantas’s loss-making international division struggled.

But since the alliance began, Australia’s biggest airline has turned the corner, cutting costs, hiking fares and returning record profits, allowing it to switch back to the Singapore hub its customers liked better.

“Our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai,” Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said in a statement, adding later in a conference call that the change will free up aircraft for “expansion into Asia”.

Qantas said it is retaining its partnership with Emirates for another five years, but the Australian airline will return to flying its flagship Sydney-London “Kangaroo Route” via Singapore and increase capacity on Melbourne-Singapore flights. It will retain more than 100 code share destinations with Emirates.

“When Qantas did the deal with Emirates its international fortunes were not attractive...they weren’t negotiating from a strong position,” said Neil Hansford, who runs consultancy Strategic Aviation Solutions.

“Me and a million others never enjoyed hubbing at Dubai. Now they’re going back to the traditional route,” Hansford said. Australian travellers generally prefer stopovers in Southeast Asia compared to Dubai because of timezone differences.

Goodbye, Dubai

Qantas had already flagged plans to switch capacity to Asia, when it said in April it would axe its Melbourne-Dubai-London flights operated in partnership with Emirates, and fly via Perth instead.

Dropping Dubai as a destination altogether frees extra Airbus A380 and A330 aircraft for flights to Asia, where the airline’s low-cost arm, Jetstar, already operates a sizeable network and Qantas sees growing demand.

“Asia is where the growth market is. By pulling out of Singapore they basically forsook that whole thing; this transforms things incredibly,” said Peter Harbison, a former Australian aviation trade negotiator and chairman of consultancy CAPA.

Qantas said it expected a benefit of more than A$80 million ($63 million) a year to the airline from fiscal 2019 from the renewed alliance. Emirates said it was mutually beneficial.

Revenue sharing arrangements for the next five years of the deal were confidential, but a “continuation of what we’ve been doing until now”, Joyce said.

The airlines’ alliance is subject to government and regulatory approval in Australia.

Singapore’s Changi Airport welcomed the deal and said it would increase weekly Australia-Singapore capacity by 5.5 percent. However, Qantas has flagged cutting out stopovers altogether on the Kangaroo Route and flying to London directly from 2022.



Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Shouldn’t Govt. prevent parliamentary system from decay and destruction?

Friday, 23 February 2018

The wrong people teach us the best lessons. As a clever nation, we had always used our ballot and chased the wrong people

Sri Lanka needs sensible and sound leadership

Friday, 23 February 2018

The Asia section of the print edition of the Economist, under the headline ‘Beasts and Monsters’, said: “To critics of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Something happened out there, but what’s going on in here right now?

Friday, 23 February 2018

I have a confession to make. Yours truly has really lost track of what’s happening in the arena we call national politics.

Putting ‘Yaha’ into ‘Palanaya’ – could standards be the trick?

Thursday, 22 February 2018

I will from the outset indicate that this is not about politics, even though popular terminology cannot be resisted if one is to get the message across. We are driven by emotions and the media is only adding fuel to the fire. If one takes a step back

Columnists More