MIAMI — American Airlines announced plans to submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) a joint venture proposal with Qantas.
Last November, the DOT denied the Joint Venture, citing a “high risk of competitive harm,” which would have allowed American and Qantas to collaborate more closely on flight scheduling, pricing and marketing on flights between the U.S. and Australia, with the carriers splitting the resulting revenue.
“We are excited to get this resolved with the DOT. We think there is a lot of consumer benefits and we are anxious to make our case and get a fair review going forward. So we will get that going in the near future,” Andrew Nocella, Senior VP/Chief Marketing, American Airlines, told reporters during an earnings call last Friday.
American Airlines has joint venture agreements with Japan Airlines on trans-Pacific flights, and with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair for flights across the Atlantic.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines already have joint ventures in full force to the Australian market, through Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, respectively. American Airlines and Qantas already have a codeshare agreement, which allows them to commercialize each other’s flights as their own.
American Airlines expects to file the request in a few weeks, once the US Senate votes on Elaine Chao’s nomination to become transportation secretary, when she is expected to be confirmed.
“We’re hopeful that the Trump administration will give the Qantas (joint venture application) a second and more favorable consideration,” said Steve Johnson, executive vice president for corporate affairs.
In the meantime, Qantas and American will scale back areas of cooperation that aren’t viable without immunity, including the suspension of the codeshare on American Airlines’ services between Sydney and Los Angeles, for new bookings made for travel from February 1, and both carriers will adjust their frequent flier policies to have them aligned with other oneworld carriers from May 1.