Australia’s competition regulator has denied Qantas and Japan Airlines (JAL) from coordinating flights between Australia and Japan over concerns about restricting competition, fearing that the public would not benefit from the joint agreement. “Preserving competition between airlines is the key to the long-term recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, once international travel restrictions are eased,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
The agreement, which would have enabled both Qantas and JAL to coordinate fares and schedules, would make it especially difficult for any other airline to compete on routes between the two countries. Currently Qantas and JAL are the only two airlines to offer non-stop flights on Japan-Australia routes. According to the regulator: “Virgin Australia told the ACCC that it would be more difficult to enter the Australia-Japan route if it is required to compete with Qantas and Japan Airlines acting jointly rather than as individual competing airlines.”
Having been advised back in May of the likely negative outcome, Qantas had offered to start up a new route, one between Cairns and Tokyo, though with this confirmed restriction, that idea has now been shelved. In the meantime, while Ross Leggett, JAL Senior Vice President has made it clear the joint venture with Qantas would have accelerated the recovery of leisure and business traffic between Japan and Australia, the two airlines will continue with their codeshare arrangements and oneworld Alliance partnership.Email Post to a Friend