Qantas is to ditch its historic links with British Airways and Singapore and embrace Emirates in one of the most significant alliance deals in decades.
The new deal with Emirates, announced today, will give both airlines' customers a seamless international and Australian network and exclusive frequent flyer benefits.
Under the agreement signed this morning by Emirates president Tim Clark and Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, Qantas will move its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai and enter an extensive commercial relationship with Emirates.
The 10-year code-sharing partnership will feature integrated network collaboration with coordinated pricing, sales and scheduling.
Neither airline will take equity in the other.
The partnership will see Qantas, along with anchor tenant Emirates, as the only other airline operating at Dubai International’s Terminal 3.
The two airlines will jointly offer 98 weekly services between Australia and Dubai including four daily A380 flights.
Qantas will launch daily A380 services from both Sydney and Melbourne to London via Dubai for a combined unprecedented seven daily A380 flights to London Heathrow.
For Emirates customers it will open up Qantas’ Australian domestic network of more than 50 destinations and nearly 5000 flights per week.
The carriers will also co-ordinate their respective trans-Tasman services between Australia and New Zealand with Emirates offering improved schedules for flights to Christchurch and Auckland - including the introduction of Emirates’ daily A380 services on the Melbourne-Auckland route in October.
The deal, subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, will begin in April next year.
Mr Joyce said partnership was the most significant the airline had ever signed.
“This is the most significant partnership the Qantas Group has ever formed with another airline, moving past the traditional alliance model to a new level,” Mr Joyce said.
"It will deliver benefits to all parts of the group.
"As the world’s largest international airline, with a network that perfectly complements our own,
Emirates will help us give our customers across Australia a dramatically expanded range of travel options.
"Together with Emirates, Qantas will provide a unique one-stop hub service, as well as deeply integrated frequent flyer and customer benefits."
Some analysts believe a code-share agreement could deliver a $90 million benefit to Qantas's International segment, which has been under severe financial pressure due to high fuel prices and the economic downturn in its key European and US markets.
Qantas's international operations lost $450 million in 2011/12.
Mr Joyce's plan to return the airline's international arm to profitability has been built around deepening alliances with other carriers, reconfiguring the fleet and changing maintenance and operational practices to reduce costs.
The market welcomed the news, with Qantas shares rising 5.5 cents, or 4.89 per cent, to $1.185 by 10.11am.
Earlier, the stock reached an intraday high of $1.205.