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Qantas to announce Emirates alliance


Qantas Airways is set to announce an agreement with Dubai-based Emirates that could help save the Australian airline's struggling international operations.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce is expected to confirm the codeshare agreement at a press conference in Sydney at 10am AEST on Thursday.

Analysts expect the deal to cover flights between Australia and Europe, as well as some frequent flyer benefits, both of which do not require approval from the competition regulator.

Some believe a codeshare agreement could deliver a $90 million benefit to Qantas's International segment, which has been under severe financial pressure due to high fuel prices and the economic downturn in its key European and US markets.

Qantas's international operations lost $450 million in 2011/12.

Mr Joyce's plan to return the airline's international arm to profitability has been built around deepening alliances with other carriers, reconfiguring the fleet and changing maintenance and operational practices to reduce costs.

Access to Emirates's extensive northern hemisphere network would enable Qantas to offer passengers one-stop options to more European cities.