Qantas Europe Bookings Up 6-Fold as Emirates Alliance Takes Off

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN), Australiai’s largest carrier, said bookings for trips to Europe have gone up six-fold as its first flight in partnership with Emirates Airline took off today.

Bookings to Europe on the joint network in the first nine weeks of sales have risen six-fold from a year earlier, Alan Joyce, chief executive officer of Sydney-based Qantas, said today in an e-mailed statement

“The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” Joyce said in the statement.

Passengers will be able to fly to 65 international destinations with one stop in Dubai, compared with the previous five one-stop destinations in Europe under Qantas’s previous alliance with International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG)’s British Airways unit.

The agreement, approved by Australia’s antitrust regulator March 27, is allowing Qantas to shift its planes to serve more profitable Asian routes while reaching more European destinations with a single stop in Dubai. Joyce has pledged to return Qantas’s international business to profit after the company last year reported its first annual loss since a 1995 stock market listing.

The tie up should be worth about A$90 million ($94 million) a year before tax to Qantas, as it fills more seats on combined flights to Europe, New Zealand and Southeast Asia and drops the unprofitable Frankfurt service, Andrew Gibson, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Inc., said in a note to clients Feb. 22.

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