Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines have announced the withdrawal of their joint business application with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), marking the end of a long-standing partnership. This decision follows the ACCC’s recent plans to dissolve the partnership between the two airlines due to concerns about reduced competition and potential airfare hikes.
The partnership had facilitated coordinated passenger and cargo operations between Australia and China for the two carriers. In a statement, Qantas stated, “The airlines have commenced a process to unwind the joint business over the coming weeks, which includes an end to the coordination of pricing and schedules, and the removal of joint marketing material.”
The ACCC acknowledged the announcement, confirming that the interim authorization granted on March 30, 2023, is no longer in effect.
This move by Qantas follows its recent decision to abandon its A$611 million plan to acquire charter flight operator Alliance Aviation Services, which was blocked by the ACCC. Last week, the Australian government revealed plans to ask the ACCC to monitor domestic passenger flights in an effort to enhance competition in an industry largely dominated by Qantas, which has faced allegations of anti-competitive behavior.
In previous incidents, the ACCC had sued Qantas in August for selling tickets to thousands of flights that were canceled, exposing the company to potential substantial fines. This led to the early retirement of the long-serving CEO, Alan Joyce.
In a bid to restore investor trust and mend its tarnished reputation, Qantas recently announced that Chairman Richard Goyder would step down in late 2024 as part of a broader effort to renew the company’s board.