US DOT tentatively approves American and Qantas joint business deal

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has given tentative approval of a joint business deal between American Airlines and Qantas.

Final approval of the joint business will allow for commercial integration between the carriers, delivering new routes and significant customer benefits the two airline say is not possible through any other form of cooperation.

As part of the case put to the DOT, Qantas and American flagged an intention to launch several new routes within the first two years of the proposed joint business.

Qantas expects to announce details of two new routes — Brisbane, Australia (BNE)–Chicago (ORD) and BNE–San Francisco (SFO) – once final approval is received.

Other benefits of the agreement the airlines said include an expanded codeshare relationship and optimised schedules on trans-Pacific services, opening up more connections to more destinations and reduced total travel time.

Better access to seats on each carrier’s network, leading to lower fares and additional frequent flyer benefits by further integrating the carriers’ programs, including higher earn rates for points on each other’s networks beyond what is possible today through oneworld.

“As was evident in the unprecedented level of public support for this application, the joint business will also create additional jobs at our respective companies and in the industries we serve,” said American’s chairman and CEO, Doug Parker. “We thank Secretary Chao and the DOT for their consideration and look forward to final approval in the coming weeks.”

“Qantas and American submitted a compelling proposal to the DOT that would bring significant benefits to millions of travelers and a boost to tourism,” said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

“For more than 30 years, Qantas and American have connected the U.S. and Australia as partners. This joint business means we’ll be able to deepen our partnership to offer new routes, better flight connections and more frequent flyer benefits.”

American and Qantas will review the order, with a final decision from the DOT expected in the next few weeks.