Qantas takes over trans-Tasman flights from Emirates

Qantas takes over trans-Tasman flights from Emirates

It follows an announcement earlier this year by the airline to stop the Auckland-Sydney service.

Emirates plans to end most of its flights between Australia and New Zealand as part of a renegotiated joint venture with Qantas Airways Ltd that will also see the Australian carrier quit flying to Dubai, the airlines said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Qantas will increase the frequency of its services between Australia and New Zealand, adding seven new return flights per week between Melbourne and Auckland and an extra two return services per week between Brisbane and Auckland. The new services will be operated with a mix of Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s, and will help to back-fill some of the capacity lost by Emirates' decision to cut its daily A380 services on the same routes.

However, the total number of seats between Australia and New Zealand on all airlines will fall by 3.7 percent after the changes, Qantas said.

The airline will retain its existing daily A380 flights from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney.

Emirates President Tim Clark said demand on its Australia-Auckland flights had been hit after the launch of a non-stop flight between Dubai and Auckland past year and due to competition from new entrants like Taiwan'sChina Airlines Ltd. Customers flying between Australia and New Zealand, particularly business travellers, will benefit from the improved schedule choice.

These latest changes are included in the airlines' application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and New Zealand Minister of Transport for the extension of authorisation for the airlines' joint business for another five years.

"Reauthorisation of the partnership will allow us to leverage our combined network strengths to offer customers even more flight choices and reciprocal benefits for our millions of frequent flyer members", Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said.

Further, Emirates has also flagged more nonstop services between Dubai and New Zealand as part of its network changes. "That's certainly been true for the past five years and now we're evolving our joint network so we can serve them even better for the next five".

"We are now enhancing the partnership to reflect customer demand, new aircraft technology and our respective network strengths", says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

It will also be reorganising its Australia flights "to create a better spread of departure times throughout the day" Qantas said in a statement.

Within five years Qantas expects to be flying non-stop from the east coast of Australia to London and NY having already begun talks with aircraft manufacturers to develop a plane with the capability to fly this distance.

Qantas had said in August it would stop flying to London via Emirates' Dubai hub when the alliance was renewed.

Tickets for Qantas' new Tasman services will be available progressively from tomorrow.