American, Qantas pact takes off across the South Pacific

Nov 5, 2019

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American Airlines and Qantas Airways have implemented their new partnership across the Pacific, aimed at easing travelers journeys across their networks.

The Oneworld Alliance carriers implemented the joint venture, which allows them to act as essential one airline between the U.S. and both Australia and New Zealand, on Nov. 1, they said in a joint filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Passengers will not see big changes immediately. While American and Qantas expanded their codeshare agreement and improved their reciprocal frequent flier benefits in October, new routes and improved schedules are not expected until next year.

Related: American Airlines adds 2 New Zealand routes under Qantas partnership

In 2020, American will launch two new routes to New Zealand, and Qantas two new routes to the U.S. from Brisbane (BNE). All four routes will be covered by the partnership, which includes joint sales and marketing on both sides of the Pacific.

American and Qantas promised at least $310 million in annual consumer benefits — plus at least three new routes — from their tie-up if it was approved by regulators.

The two carriers together are the dominant player between the U.S. and Oceania. American and Qantas will fly a combined nearly 39% of seats in the market this year, according to Diio by Cirium schedules. Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia’s joint venture is scheduled to fly 15% of seats, and Air New Zealand and United Airlines’ partnership 33% of seats.

The new American-Qantas pact is just one of several sought by U.S. carriers. Delta Air Lines has received a tentative nod for an updated partnership with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic across the Atlantic, and is seeking a tie up with WestJet; and United Airlines is expected to file for a joint venture with Avianca, Azul and Copa Airlines in the coming months.

Related: Best credit card for American Airlines flyers

Featured image by James D. Morgan/Getty Images.

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