QANTAS Airways says it is suffering financial harm while its proposed alliance with Emirates awaits final approval from the competition watchdog.
Qantas has re-applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urgently seeking interim authorisation on the partnership.
This would allow the two carriers to begin work on areas they see as critical such as sales and pricing strategies, marketing, integration of IT systems and scheduling.
It would also offer customers certainty, Qantas’s head of legal, competition, Anna Pritchard, said in a letter to the ACCC dated December 20.
Ms Pritchard said Qantas had suffered significant financial harm from when the proposed alliance was announced in August, and would continue to do so until a final decision was handed down.
“While the arrangements remain subject to regulatory approval there is a perception within the market that Qantas flights cannot be booked with any certainty,” Ms Pritchard said in Qantas’s submission to the ACCC.
Qantas said interim authorisation would “mean that Qantas and Emirates can act quickly to restore consumer and trade confidence in Qantas’ sales into Europe”.
It would also accelerate the ability to commence joint selling and marketing to support the new Qantas operations into Dubai.
The ACCC was expected to decide on the carriers’ request by early February.
Qantas first sought interim authorisation in September, but withdrew its application after the ACCC said it wanted to undertake a substantive review of the proposed alliance.
The ACCC said in a draft ruling on December 20 it was likely to approve the partnership for five years, with a final decision expected in March.
“There remains a significant volume of work that cannot be undertaken unless and until authorisation is granted and an interim authorisation would materially facilitate the delivery of public benefits to consumers,” Qantas said.
Qantas shares closed half a cent higher at $1.465.