Consumers win from Qantas deal: Emirates
Market watch top headlines
Qantas will be vindicated within three years for its massive jobs cuts, withdrawal from loss-making routes and deferred aircraft orders, the flying kangaroo's new partner Emirates says.
Emirates chief executive Tim Clark told reporters he supported the shake-up by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, adding that if he was in the same position he would have done the same things.
Mr Clark backed Mr Joyce's approach, saying the struggling Australian carrier would emerge from this period of restructuring with the "basis for something solid".
"Alan knew he had to take out the big knife and make some surgical changes to the way the Qantas group was organised," Mr Clark said.
"If it was me in the same position, I wouldn't be able to do anything else.
"That's why, I think, probably I support what he is doing."
He said those critical of Mr Joyce's performance and agitating for management change - there has been constant speculation some former Qantas executives were looking to buy a stake in the airline - would be "eating their words" in three years time.
"Within three years, given the Qantas strategy, given its link to Emirates and us to them, things will be completely different for Qantas," Mr Clark said.
"As things start to pick up, I think share value will rise, investor interest will increase, respect for what the management are doing and will do will increase."
Shares in Qantas fell to a record low of 97 cents in May, although it has recovered since but the stock was down about 16 per cent so far in calendar 2012.
Qantas and Emirates announced in September plans to co-ordinate schedules, pricing and marketing on routes between Australia and Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and across the Tasman.
In addition, the two carriers would offer reciprocal frequent-flyer benefits and enter into an extensive codesharing arrangement.
The 10-year alliance was regarded as a key plank in Mr Joyce's bid to turn around the Flying Kangaroo's international operations, which reported a $450 million loss in 2011/12.
Mr Clark said Australians would be the big winners should the competition regulator give the green light to Emirates' alliance with Qantas and Virgin Australia's takeover of Skywest and Tiger Airways Australia.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims is reviewing both deals which, if approved, would return Australia to a previous era where flyers were served by two big airline groups.
Qantas, regional operator QantasLink, low-cost subsidiary Jetstar and Emirates would sit on one side, with Virgin Australia, its international alliance partners such as Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand, Tiger and Skywest on the other.
"The winner is the consumer," Mr Clark told reporters during a media briefing in Emirates head office in Dubai on Tuesday (Dubai time).
* The reporter travelled to Dubai courtesy of Emirates and Qantas.