American Airlines and Qantas have been given the U.S. government’s tentative approval to operate a joint venture after a prior effort was rejected in 2016. The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday issued an order tentatively approving the joint business agreement and granting antitrust immunity to the airlines covering international service. Once final approval is issued, the airlines can partner on flights between the U.S. and New Zealand and Australia.
The deal would allow the airlines to coordinate their planning, pricing, sales and frequent flyer programs, with new options and customer service improvements. It could also generate up to 180,000 new trips between the United States and Australia and New Zealand annually, Yahoo reports.
U.S. regulators in 2001 approved similar joint venture agreements for United and Air New Zealand Ltd and in 2011 for Delta Air Lines Inc and Virgin Australia.