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Australia,United Arab Emirates : ACCC ready to broaden Virgin-Etihad Pact.

The contender watchdog is ready to give Virgin Australia an approval to pursue its partnership with Etihad for more 5 years.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the arrangement, in which the airlines collaborate on joint rates and scheduling, profits consumers as Virgin might not execute services from Australia to Abu Dhabi.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said, "Virgin could not offer a viable service on the route without offering the beyond connections available on Etihad's network within the Alliance."

"The ACCC considers this alliance would likely result in continued public benefits through promoting competition and enhancing the products and services offered to customers travelling between Australia and the Middle East and onward destinations throughout Europe."

The ACCC is still to make a last ruling, it is slated for November.

Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said, "We have introduced more code share destinations, delivered further enhancements to the customer experience and more than doubled seat capacity between Australia and Abu Dhabi, through the launch of new routes, more flight frequencies and larger aircraft."

"We welcome the ACCC's assessment of the public benefit the alliance brings to travellers."

The arrangement comprise a codeshare deal, and also collaboration in sales and marketing, buying and procurement, and crew secondments.

Etihad president and chief executive James Hogan said, "Today's announcement by the ACCC is great news for the partnership and for Australian travellers."

"The partnership ... has generated significant benefits and increased revenue for each airline through the alignment of our operations."

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Nov 2, 2015
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