The QANTAS/Emirates agreement announced this morning allows us to get a better idea of the QANTAS International schedule from March 31st 2013.

The current QF1/2 and QF9/10 Sydney – Singapore – London Heathrow and Melbourne –Singapore – London Heathrow service will switch to operate via Dubai instead of Singapore. This will leave no QANTAS service between Singapore and London Heathrow. Additionally the QF5/6 Sydney – Singapore – Frankfurt service will be withdrawn.

QANTAS will codeshare on all Emirates European flights. This will mean an end to the current Singapore – Paris CDG codeshare on Air France and the Hong Kong – Rome Fiumicino codeshare on Cathay Pacific,

QANTAS will also codeshare on all Emirates services from Australia – Dubai and from Dubai – North Africa.

As with Singapore, QANTAS will be able to sell Dubai – London Heathrow and vice versa tickets. However the real benefit will be the Emirates codeshare on the QANTAS operated Dubai – London Heathrow legs. With any two leg flight the airline is better off selling A-B and B-C tickets rather than A-C tickets. The problem is matching the demand on the A-B and B-C legs of the journey. The beauty of the new arrangement is that Emirates will soon go to 5 x A380s daily on the Dubai – London Heathrow route and would operate more if it could secure the slots at Heathrow.

QANTAS will see a decrease in the number of passengers flying Sydney – London Heathrow because there are no so many one stop connections available at Dubai through to Europe. However for every QANTAS passenger leaving the A380 at Dubai, Emirates will be able to closely match with a passenger connecting from its Middle East, Far East, North African and Indian networks to occupy a seat on the QANTAS operated Dubai – London Heathrow sector.

The agreement means that for passengers originating in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth it will no longer be possible to fly to London on a QANTAS aircraft unless transiting through Sydney or Melbourne.

With all Emirates services from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to Dubai on which QANTAS will codeshare currently operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft this means 3-4-3 seating for Economy passengers and 2-3-2 lie-flat (sloped) seating for Business Class passengers for the longest leg of the journey to Europe. Notwithstanding Emirates superior IFE, both of these would be considered inferior to the current A330 2-4-2 Economy and 2-2-2 Business Class lie-flat product that was previously used on the shorter leg of the journey. First Class will become available once again from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth however.

The official statement continued:

“With European services transiting through Dubai, Qantas’ Asian services will no longer be a subsidiary of the ‘Kangaroo Route’. Instead they will be dedicated to connecting Australians with our region, and Asian visitors to Australia.

“We will increase dedicated capacity to Singapore and re-time flights to Singapore and Hong Kong to enable more ‘same day’ connections across Asia. We believe this will significantly improve the economics of our Asian operations.”

These would appear to be weasel words. It does not matter to the current Australia – Asia passenger that their flight continues through to Europe. It has also never been disclosed by QANTAS what percentage of seats on the current QF1/2, QF5/QF6 and QF9/10 services are dedicated to Australia – UK and Australia – Asia /Asia – UK passengers. Therefore the airline can replace the current 1 x A380 and 1 x B744 on the Sydney – Singapore route with 1 x A332 and still claim an increase in available Australia – Asia seats.

The switch of the QF1/2, QF9/10 services from Singapore to Dubai does not create any extra aircraft availability.

With the Boeing 747-400 fleet to be reduced to 9 aircraft the QF5/QF6 Sydney – Singapore – Frankfurt service was always going to be canned since there would not be enough aircraft to operate it; the nine remaining B747-400s being fully utilised (2 x QF107/108 Sydney – Los Angeles – New York JFK, 2 x QF15/QF16 Brisbane – Los Angeles, 2 x QF7/QF8 Sydney – Dallas-Fort Worth, 2 x Sydney – Johannesburg and 1 x Sydney – Santiago). Therefore unless any of these services are withdrawn all Australia – Asia flying will have to be accommodated by the existing fleet of 4 x A330-200s and 10 x A330-300s. A380s may remain on certain Sydney – Hong Kong sectors but overall this means the withdrawal of First and Premium Economy on QANTAS operated Australia – Asia routes.

Emirates currently operate Sydney – Bangkok, Brisbane – Singapore, Melbourne – Singapore and Melbourne – Kuala Lumpur and QANTAS will codeshare on these services, and will thus be able to claim an increase in available seats.