On Easter Sunday in Sydney, many families spent time to calm down the sugar loaded children while the sun hides amongst the clouds in the southern autumn (fall). Yet in the sky, a unique event happened, never seen before.
To commemorate the start of the partnership between Qantas & Emirates the two airlines decided to hold a special event. At 10:30am, at 1500ft above the Sydney Harbor Bridge an A380 from Qantas, flew in formation with a second A380 from Emirates. This is the first time in aviation history that not only did two A380s flew in formation, but also two from different airlines.
“The sight of two of the world’s great airlines flying two of the world’s largest aircraft so close together over Sydney Harbor is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Captain Green Chief pilot for Qantas.
Pilots from both airlines have conducted dozens of special simulator training sessions since January this year. Emirates pilots came to Australia earlier this month to conduct joint sessions in Qantas’ A380 simulator in Sydney and conducted several more practice runs over the past few days.
As VH-OQF (from Qantas) & A6-EDY (from Emirates) flew over Sydney Harbor they used the call sign “Seismic” because Emirates President Tim Clark said “the partnership between Qantas and Emirates will cause a seismic shift in global aviation.”
The Qantas & Emirates partnership is game changing, as it sees the end of the dominant force on the “Kangaroo Route” from London to Australia via Singapore. That traditional route was maintained by an agreement between British Airways (IAG) and Qantas for over 15 years. Although Qantas & British Airways are oneworld partner airlines the joint agreement allowed them to coordinate pricing, services and flights between the UK & Australia. However when that agreement ended on the 31st of March, the Emirates partnership began.
With Qantas flying their A380s to London via Dubai, it allows Qantas customers access to 70 destinations in Europe with only one stop over the previous two. Emirates doesn’t come out of the deal empty handed, as they get access to the Qantas domestic network, which is by far the most comprehensive in Australia. Frequent flyer benefits and some on-board services have been aligned between the two carriers making this a true powerhouse to contend with.
I can just imagine standing by the shoreline on Sydney Harbor seeing these two large aircraft flying in formation and being surrounded by a stunned crowd of AvGeeks, tourists & locals. It is only too bad that the sun and blue sky were not out.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.
Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.