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American Airlines and Qantas Receive Final Approval to Launch Joint Business Agreement

Texas Business reports:  FORT WORTH, Texas and SYDNEY—American Airlines and Qantas Airways today welcomed the U.S. Department of Transportation's final approval of the airlines' trans-Pacific joint business agreement (JBA), which will allow the carriers to coordinate services between the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The approval comes despite problems two weekends ago, when Qantas Airways briefly shut down operations worldwide because of conflicts with employee unions.

The authorization of the JBA will bring more travel choices and greater benefits to consumers and also maximize value for stakeholders in both airlines.

Customers can expect to benefit from better flight schedules, expanded codesharing, more coordinated services, and greater access to a wider variety of fares.

With all relevant regulatory approvals, both airlines can now begin working together on the following:

Joint strategic planning and management of trans-Pacific services and 'behind and beyond' services within Australia/New Zealand and North America

Improvement of flight schedules, frequencies and connection times to benefit Qantas and American customers

Joint pricing initiatives resulting in more competitive fares and new fare products, as well as joint marketing of services

Increased opportunities for customers of each airline to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles/points on services operated by the other

A streamlined offering for corporate customers and for travel agents

The ability to coordinate pricing for the sale of Australia and New Zealand package destinations by AA Vacations, American's outlet for discount vacation packages

“The final approval by the DOT will allow American and Qantas to enhance customer service and travel options for our customers flying between North America and Australia and New Zealand,” said Virasb Vahidi, American's chief commercial officer in a prepared statement.  “Qantas is a long-standing and highly valued partner, and together we are supporting each other's strategic objectives by providing an unparalleled global network for our customers.”

“The launch of Dallas/Fort Worth services has opened up unprecedented access to North America for Qantas customers through codeshares with American Airlines,” said Rob Gurney, Group Executive Qantas Airlines Commercial. “With approval for our joint business agreement, both carriers can now work even more closely together on strategic initiatives that will benefit our customers in both markets.”

In May 2011, Qantas began flying from Sydney to American's Dallas/Fort Worth hub as a key initiative for a deeper commercial relationship between the oneworld partners and the launch of the JBA. Qantas will increase its Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth service to six frequencies per week in January 2012 and to daily in July 2012. Developing a strengthened alliance network based around major hub airports is a key aspect of the Qantas Group's 'gateway strategy' to revitalize its international operations.

American Airlines, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection carrier serve 260 airports in more than 50 countries and territories with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft.  

 Qantas is Australia's largest domestic and international airline.