Emirates could be interested in allying with rival carriers following the early success of its tie-up with Qantas, but sees very few potential candidates that would meet its strict partnership conditions.
“We do have a number of approaches from the great and the good to try to do something like that,” says the Dubai carrier’s president Tim Clark.
“It would have to fit, pass through the multiple filters that we went through in the analysis process with Qantas. There aren’t many out there that would do that, frankly.”
Denying rumours that discussions were held last year with Lufthansa about a tie-up, Clark jokes: “Maybe [Lufthansa chief executive] Carsten [Spohr] and I have been seen having a coffee somewhere, and we do that regularly.”
Regarding the one-year-old Qantas partnership, Clark says that it is “early days” and still “bedding down”, but Emirates is pleased with the results so far: “We know we had 360,000 Australians get off in Dubai last year that we didn’t have before. It’s the fastest inbound market, coincidental with the start of the Qantas relationship,” he says.
“It has come at a difficult time for them. What has happened in the last year for Qantas – trying to restructure – has masked the strength of the commercial relationship we have with them, which is essentially a good one,” adds Clark.