Qantas and Emirates withdraw application for interim authorisation

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Qantas Airways and Emirates have withdrawn their application to the Australian competition watchdog for an interim authorisation that will allow them to plan and negotiate their proposed alliance.

The two carriers submitted their application to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 7 September for permission to co-ordinate their operations before the approval of their wide-ranging partnership announced earlier. "The ACCC is continuing to examine the airlines' substantive application for authorisation and the decision to withdraw the interim application has no impact on that broader assignment," says ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

He adds that Qantas and Emirates believe they are able to "undertake a significant amount of preparatory work" without the need for the interim authorisation.

Qantas and Emirates announced on 6 September that they have entered an extensive partnership to collaborate on routes and frequent flyer benefits, shifting the Australian carrier's hub for European flights to Dubai from Singapore. The partnership, pending the ACCC's approval, will commence in April 2013 and run for 10 years.

The ACCC expects to make a final decision in March 2013.

The Australian flag carrier, meanwhile, has applied to Australia's International Air Services Commission for permission to operate daily services from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai.

It will instead operate four new weekly services on the Sydney-Singapore route and a daily service on the Melbourne-Singapore route, which are timed to better connect with onward flights in Asia.

The airline's Singapore-London service will also cease and Qantas will instead place its code on British Airways' connecting flights via Singapore to facilitate travellers on Qantas's flights from Australia.

Qantas adds that it has started work with Emirates on the proposed partnership.