The news of a tie-up between Qantas Airways and Emirates is hardly surprising, but will reshape air travel between Australia and Europe for the next 10 years, and result in some clear winners and losers.
Analysts and industry observers agree that Emirates is the clear winner in the partnership announced on Thursday, 6 September 2012.
At one stroke, the Middle Eastern carrier brought a battered, yet still potent, competitor into its orbit. It gained a major feed for its European, African and Middle Eastern destinations, while gaining access to Qantas's strong network in Australia.
Reshma Bhandary, an aerospace analyst at Frost & Sullivan, notes that the alliance will help the bottom line of both carriers. She says there has been a price war on routes from Australia to Europe in recent years.
"This alliance is great for the growth of Emirates," she says. "They are certainly the clear winner. Every deal they take up is usually a winning situation for them."
She believes that Qantas will also derive significant benefits from the Emirates relationship, buying time for its long suffering international operations to return to profitability. The partnership also dovetails nicely with Qantas's efforts to withdraw from unprofitable routes.
"This a 10 year alliance," says Bhandary. "If Qantas gets back on its feet in 10 years, it might get back onto some of the routes it is cutting. They are buying time, keeping options open."
Meanwhile, the deal enhances the status of Dubai as the world's rising airline hub.
Paul Sheridan, an analyst at Flightglobal Advisory's Ascend, says the deal recognises that with carriers such as Emirates and Etihad, passengers can travel between Australia and Europe with only one stop in the Persian Gulf region.
"This reality has been building up for a long time because aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER allow this to happen," he says.
Other beneficiaries include carriers such as Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Lufthansa, who will lose a competitor on the Singapore-Frankfurt route. SIA will also benefit from less competition on the lucrative Singapore-London route.
Losers in the deal include International Airlines Group (IAG) and Singapore's Changi airport and its status as a global aviation hub.
Qantas issued several pages touting the benefits of the Emirates alliance, and at the same time, issued a brief one-page media release entitled, Qantas and IAG to terminate joint business.
Although IAG chief executive Willie Walsh had warm words for Qantas's 17-year relationship with its British Airways unit and said the two parties were parting on "amicable terms", he delivered a thinly-veiled parting shot.
"Qantas has made it clear that its international performance has been weak and the joint business won't have any negative impact on IAG's financial targets," said Walsh.
"British Airways loses out with the loss of this partnership," says Sheridan. "The deal could also raise questions about Qantas's Oneworld membership."
Another notable loser is Singapore's Changi Airport. While the alliance is not likely to have much impact on overall traffic numbers, it hurts Changi's status as a global hub.
Frost & Sullivan's Bhandary says there is a percentage of passengers who buy tickets on the region's low-cost carriers and fly to Singapore, where they use a separately-purchased ticket on a major carrier to Europe. Qantas's departure from the Singapore-London and Singapore-Frankfurt routes may have an impact on this traffic.