Qantas and British Airways are reportedly seeking an extension to their JV agreement for Australia-London services with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), due to concerns Middle Eastern carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, will increase their share of the Premium market on the route to approximately 50% by 2012 (The Age, 10-Nov-2009). British Airways stated it will “seriously contemplate” reducing Australia service frequency in the medium term if the JV extension is not approved. The two carriers have seen their share of the Premium market on the route decline from 60% to 55% since 2003. The ACCC is expected to make a decision on the application in Mar-2010.
Qantas and British Airways seeking extension to JV agreement
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EU-Gulf open skies negotiations: Qatar CEO Al Baker warns of biased 'fair competition' definition
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Qatar Airways CEO H.E. Akbar Al Baker gave a keynote presentation at the recent CAPA-ACTE Global Aviation Summit in Amsterdam and addressed the subject of the EU mandate. Mr Al Baker called for unquestionable third and fourth freedom liberalisation and eventual fifth freedom liberalisation. The devil as always is in the detail; the non-EU airlines in the negotiations are sceptical about how the EU will define a "fair competition" clause, and whether it will be left abstract enough that "fair competition" could potentially be used against airlines in a way they have not envisaged. The Brexit referendum could result in the EU negotiating side losing the UK, whose liberal views have balanced those of the more protectionist France and Germany.