The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has issued a draft decision proposing to grant authorisation for a Joint Business Agreement (JBA) between Qantas and American Airlines.
Under the JBA, the airlines will coordinate operations on services between Australia/New Zealand and the United States (the trans-Pacific routes), and on their respective services which support the trans-Pacific routes.
“The ACCC considers that the JBA is likely to result in new and improved products and services, including improved schedules and connectivity,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
“The ACCC does not consider that the JBA will have any anti-competitive effects, as Qantas and American Airlines do not currently provide any overlapping direct services between Australia and the United States.”
The ACCC has previously authorised an alliance between Virgin Australia and Delta Airlines on routes between Australia and the United States.
Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
The ACCC will now seek further submissions from the applicants and interested parties in relation to this draft determination prior to making a final decision.
“The applicants or interested parties may also request that a conference be held to make oral submissions on the draft determination.