To help boost the travel and tourism industries between three countries – Japan, New Zealand, and Australia – Australian airline Qantas and its Japan-based Oneworld partner airline Japan Airlines (JAL) plans to form a new joint venture.

Both airlines submitted documents to regulators in Australia and New Zealand in anticipation of the resumption of international travel. With a decision expected within six months, the anticipated start of the venture would be around July 2021.

The proposed joint venture would be a five-year agreement aimed at delivering “substantial benefits for customers and help accelerate the recovery of the tourism, trade and corporate travel links between Australia and Japan.”

Among the listed benefits for travelers under the agreement would be an expanded codeshare partnership and optimised flight schedules on flights between Australia and Japan. Qantas would have access to 14 destinations within Japan operated by JAL, while the Tokyo-based airline would have access to 15 destinations in both Australia and New Zealand. The airlines will also offer joint benefits for frequent flyer members of JAL and Qantas, along with Qantas offering more premium seats (Business and Premium Economy) on JAL-operated flights.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the joint business would play a vital role in reviving trade links with the world’s third largest economy and deliver significant benefits for customers travelling between Australia and Japan.

“Around half a million people visited Australia from Japan in 2019. We want to see that tourism resume and grow even further by making it easier for Japanese travellers to visit,” said Joyce.

“The joint business means we’ll be able to build on our existing relationship with JAL through oneworld to offer more routes, better flight connections and more benefits to frequent flyers. It also helps us diversify our portfolio of joint businesses amongst Australia’s key trading partners.”

Japan Airlines President Yuji Akasaka added “For over 50 years, JAL and Qantas have operated flights between Japan and Australia, demonstrating our mutual commitment to support and strengthen the diplomatic relationship built by the two countries.”

“We believe that a joint business with Qantas will make for a quicker recovery between both countries with the ability to expand connectivity within each carrier`s respective domestic network, providing more customer choice and travel growth opportunities.”


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