Qantas, a member of the oneworld alliance, has an odd set of partnerships.
Its closest partner is Emirates, which isn’t a member of oneworld. One of Emirates’ main rivals is Qatar, which is in oneworld.
Qantas dumped British Airways, also a member of the oneworld alliance, in favor of its Emirates deal.
Here’s the thing: while the Qantas-British Airways deal didn’t make a lot of sense… flying passengers between Europe and Australia via London isn’t attractive for most Europeans outside the U.K. or for most Aussies heading places other than the U.K. because of the extra flying on what’s already a tortuously long route… but also because of Heathrow.
An interchange in the Middle East does make sense, or even Eastern or potentially Southern Europe.
But Emirates would seem to get the far better end of the deal. Qantas is already the largest player in the international market to and from Australia. Transferring their passengers in the MIddle East means bringing their passengers to Emirates to carry onward. And it means that Aussies are happy to fly Emirates rather than Qantas.
Indeed, Emirates now carries two thirds as much international traffic to and from Australia as Qantas does. That figure was shocking to me (although it excludes Qantas’ wholly-owned low cost subsidiary Jetstar).