Emirates granted right to fly trans-Tasman
SYDNEY - The Australian government has granted Emirates Airlines the right to fly trans-Tasman routes from any port in Australia.
Few details were available this morning on the decision, but the Australian Financial Review said Federal Transport Minister John Anderson had knocked back the airline's application to fly twice a day from Sydney to Dubai.
However, Emirates will be able to operate twice daily services to Dubai from Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to take effect from October.
The decision to allow Dubai-based Emirates to fly trans-Tasman routes out of Australia will provide extra competition, which both Qantas and Air New Zealand have conceded in their updated bid to get their equity deal approved by competition regulators in Australia and New Zealand.
Air New Zealand spokesman Glen Sowry said Emirates would be joining several other airlines offering services across the Tasman, the Daily Telegraph reported.
But whether there will be enough competition against an Air NZ-Qantas operation to satisfy the regulators remains to be seen.
Emirates can already fly to New Zealand under an open skies agreement with the United Arab Emirates, but up until now Australia had refused permission for it to fly the trans-Tasman routes.
The decision not to allow it Sydney-Dubai service is likely to have been made to appease Qantas, which wants to protect its position on the so-called "kangaroo" route to London.
Mr Anderson has agreed to reconsider the Emirates' Sydney-Dubai request within 12 months.