The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday issued a determination granting authorisation of Qantas and British Airways’ Joint Services Agreement for a further five years.
The Joint Services Agreement allows both companies to coordinate commercial arrangements in providing flights in and out of Australia, primarily between Australia and Europe and has been in operation for the past 14 years, with the two carriers ‘sharing codes’ for flights and carrying each others ticket holders on individual flights.
“The ACCC considers the JSA is likely to continue to provide air passengers with access to lower fares and a broader range of schedule options,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.
The ACCC believes that, rather than decreasing competition and increasing prices to consumers, with the Joint Services Agreement routes already heavily contested by other carriers that any cost savings arising from the JSA are likely to be passed onto consumers rather than simply banked by the airlines. Increasing competition from other carriers means the JSA is unlikely to result in any significant lessening of competition in the relevant markets.
The ACCC’s determination will be available from the ACCC website, www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister.
The authorisation by the ACCC of the QANTAS / British Airways JSA provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.