Qantas to tango with Emirates, end tie-up with British Airways

Qantas Airways Ltd today signed a 10-year partnership deal with rival Emirates, bringing to an end a long-term relationship with British Airways, in a bid by the Australian airline to boost its struggling international division.

Under the alliance, Qantas would move its hub for European flights from Singapore to Dubai, coordinate with Emirates on ticket prices as also schedule and apply a benefit-sharing model starting in April 2013. The deal would be subject to regulatory approval.

According to Qantas, it would end its 17-year alliance with British Airways on 31 March, 2013.

Under the deal, neither Emirates nor Qantas would take equity in the other.

"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," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.

The deal comes as a move by Qantas to save its money-losing international operation, after it reported a A$245 million annual loss and blaming it on rising fuel prices and a series of worker strikes and its international division, which lost A$450 million.