The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted approval for a five-year alliance beginning April 1 between Qantas and Emirates for passenger and cargo operations, and other related services.

“In particular, the alliance is likely to provide Qantas and Emirates customers with increased access to a number of existing frequencies and destinations under a single airline code, improved connectivity and scheduling, and access to each alliance partner’s frequent flyer programs.  The alliance is also likely to provide the airlines with increased flexibility to manage their fleet,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC considered the detriments of the alliance on competing routes, but has implemented a condition of authorization for certain routes. As part of the agreement, the carriers will maintain their current schedules on the trans-Tasman service, where Emirates and Qantas compete on four overlapping routes.

The alliance approval has been in process for the past six months.

“Customers are already responding very strongly to the joint network that Qantas and Emirates have built, and to the frequent flyer benefits that extend across it, with a significant increase in bookings,” Emirates president Tim Clark said.

From Dubai, passengers can connect to 65 cities in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. In Australia, there are 32 destinations from which to choose.

Combined the airlines will offer 98 flights between Dubai and Australia.