ACCC denies Qantas and Japan Airlines deal to co-ordinate flights

Australia’s competition watchdog is set to try to block a deal struck between Qantas and Japan Airlines to co-ordinate flights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing to deny authorisation of the two airlines signing a five-year deal to co-ordinate flights, which the regulator says would ruin competition on travel routes between Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo.

“An agreement for co-ordination between two key competitors breaches competition laws,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says the Qantas and Japan Airlines agreement breaches competition laws. Picture: Jonathan NgSource:News Corp Australia

“This proposed co-ordination would appear to undermine competition significantly by reducing the prospect of a strong return to competition on the Melbourne-Tokyo and Sydney-Tokyo routes when international travel resumes.”

Mr Sims said the deal would only benefit the airlines at the expense of customers.

Jetstar also flies to Japan but is a subsidiary of the Qantas group.

The ACCC said the deal would make it harder for another airline to fly on these routes.

The ACCC says the deal would make it harder for another airline to fly on the Melbourne-Tokyo and Sydney-Tokyo routes. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“The airline and tourism sectors have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting competition in the airline industry is critical to ensuring recovery in the tourism sector once international travel restrictions ease,” Mr Sims said.

“Granting this authorisation would seem to eliminate any prospect of Qantas and Japan Airlines competing for passengers travelling between Australia and Japan as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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