ACCC grounds Qantas’ Japan flights bid

A Qantas plan to resume flights between Australia and Japan has been grounded after the competition watchdog said it would reduce competition.

Qantas and Japan Airlines last year proposed co-operating on flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Tokyo as airlines struggled due to international coronavirus restrictions.

Before the pandemic, the two airlines competed for customers flying directly between the cities.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the deal would reduce competition between the two carriers, and made it harder for other airlines, such as Virgin, to compete.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said preserving competition was important to the long-term recovery of aviation and tourism.

A Qantas spokesman said staff were disappointed, as the deal would have provided more routes and benefits to frequent flyers.

Shares in Qantas on the ASX were down 0.56 per cent to $5.29 at 1317 AEST.

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