ACCC: Expanded Qantas-Cathay codeshare 'may soften competition'

4 March, 2019

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) submitted (28-Feb-2019) further comments to Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC) concerning Qantas' application to enable Cathay Pacific to codeshare on Qantas' Brisbane-Hong Kong, Melbourne-Hong Kong and Sydney-Hong Kong services. The ACCC noted Cathay Pacific and Qantas are "by far the largest and second largest competitors" in the Australia-Hong Kong market and commented: "Vigorous competition between these two carriers is critical to the process of competition in the Australia-Hong Kong air passenger services market". The ACCC stated: "Our main competition concern is that the conduct may soften competition in the Australia-Hong Kong air passengers services market by making it easier for Qantas and Cathay to coordinate their price and capacity decisions so as to raise price (or reduce service) for Australia-Hong Kong passengers who connect with a domestic Australia flight and/or a flight between Hong Kong and places in Asia". The ACCC added: "If the IASC decides to approve the variation of the Determination, we consider it would be prudent for the IASC to closely monitor Qantas and Cathay's behaviour on the route and Virgin Australia's response". [more - original PR]