x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Equity deal ruled out by Qantas and Emirates

Arabian Travel Market: The chief executives of Emirates Airline and Qantas have ruled out a future equity deal arising out of the current partnership.

A future equity deal arising out of the current partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas was ruled out yesterday by the chief executives of both airlines.

And the possibility of a link-up between Emirates and Qatar Airways was also dismissed by the Emirates boss.

Both Tim Clark, the president and chief executive of Emirates, and Alan Joyce, the chief executive of the Australian carrier Qantas, said they were happy with the current framework of the partnership deal the carriers finalised last year.

"This is a partnership of equals," said Mr Clark. "Equity deals make life much more difficult, particularly when it strays into the area of ownership. Regulators can become very difficult when that happens."

Mr Joyce of Qantas agreed, saying, "the option of equity was never up for discussion".

Both chief executives denied they had been bounced into the deal by Etihad Airways' equity partnership with Virgin Australia.

"Our partnership is not a reaction, it's simple maths where it's a win-win for both the parties," Mr Clark said. "It was never a question of what Etihad was doing or not," he added.

The 10-year partnership received final approval from Australia's competition regulator in March but with the condition the deal ran for just five years initially. The arrangement included Qantas moving its hub for its European routes from Singapore to Dubai. The two airlines now offer a combined total of 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai.

Mr Clark added that he was aware that Akbhar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, had said a link between his airline and Emirates should be explored.

"If it was to happen," said Mr Clark, "the practicalities would be difficult. There would be problems with regulators worldwide over the competition issue, especially in Europe."