But leaves SQ still out in the cold....no OZ-US routes for it just yet....
Australia and the United States have reached a bilateral "open skies" aviation agreement, the countries announced Friday, clearing the way for increased competition on one of the world's most lucrative and protected long-haul routes.
The bilateral agreement abolishes all restrictions on U.S. and Australian air services for carriers of both countries, ending a virtual duopoly on the route held by Qantas and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines. Qantas controls 75 percent of the market share on the Australia-U.S. route, from which it derives around 15 percent of its net profit.
The deal will allow Australian carrier Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. to begin flights to the United States by the end of the year -- but leaves Singapore Airlines Ltd., which has long coveted the route, still without access.