The Qantas - American Airlines alliance is preparing for expansion.
The Australian Competition Commission has given the green light to the joint venture for another five years. The alliance between oneworld members, Qantas and American Airlines, allows companies to cooperate on trans-Pacific routes and will be extended for another five years.
The partnership, which also includes Qantas' Jetstar subsidiary, covers routes between Australia, New Zealand and the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) authorized the alliance in 2011 and then again in 2016.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said the public benefits of expanding the partnership include improved products and services, as well as "a higher probability of increasing capacity and new routes".
However, the ACCC acknowledged that the extent to which these public benefits are likely to be realized depends on the rate of recovery in demand for trans-Pacific travel following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authorization will allow Qantas and American Airlines to organize joint marketing and sales campaigns, shared codes, transportation, pricing, programs or distribution strategies.
Qantas expects to reopen all international routes by the end of October.
The ACCC has granted interim approval to allow airlines to continue their alliance after March 18, when their current authorization is due to expire. However, a consultation process is ongoing before a final decision is made.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) granted antitrust immunity in July 2019, almost three years after a previous application was rejected. Approval now applies until 2026.
Once final approval of DOT has been received, Qantas announced plans to launch routes from Brisbane (BNE) to Chicago (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO). However, planned services remain on hold due to the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Qantas says it expects to reopen almost all international routes by the end of October. The airline hopes to resume 22 of the 25 international routes on October 31.