Qantas and American Airlines have said they welcome the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) tentative approval of the carriers’ joint business.
If signed off by regulators, the deal will enable much closer commercial integration between the two oneworld airlines, including “significant customer benefits not possible through any other form of cooperation” according to a statement by the Australian flag carrier. This is likely to include an expanded codeshare relationship, improved scheduling on trans-Pacific routes and further integration of the two company’s frequent flyer programmes.
Among the most eye-catching elements of the the case put to the DOT, was the two carriers’ intention to “launch several new routes within the first two years of the proposed joint business”. It is understood that Qantas will announce further details of two new long-haul routes once final approval is received: Brisbane to Chicago/O’Hare and Brisbane to San Francisco.
Responding to the development, Doug Parker, American Airlines chairman and CEO said: “As was evident in the unprecedented level of public support for this application, the joint business will also create additional jobs at our respective companies and in the industries we serve. We thank Secretary Chao and the DOT for their careful consideration and look forward to final approval in the coming weeks.”
Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO added: “Both airlines submitted a compelling proposal to the DOT that would bring significant benefits to millions of travellers and a boost to tourism. For more than 30 years, Qantas and American have connected the US and Australia as partners. This joint business means that we’ll be able to deepen this partnership to offer new routes, better flight connections and more frequent flyer benefits.”
A final decision from the DOT is expected “in the next few weeks” according to the Qantas statement.