SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — In a recent announcement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorization for Qantas Airways, China Eastern, and their associated entities to continue coordinating their passenger and cargo transport operations. 

This decision follows the 2021 authorization that permitted both airlines to synchronize their activities across their networks, specifically on routes between Australia and mainland China.

With the existing authorization set to expire on March 31, 2023, both parties have requested a re-authorization for another year. ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey emphasized that the immediate interim authorization should not be perceived as a guarantee for final approval, as the ACCC will still examine the substantive application's merits.

The authorization from the ACCC offers legal protection against potential court action concerning competition provisions under the Competition and Consumer Act 2020 (CCA). In accordance with Section 91 of the CCA, the ACCC can grant interim authorization as deemed appropriate, allowing the involved parties to proceed with their proposed activities while the ACCC evaluates the substantive application.

Ultimately, the ACCC grants authorization when the anticipated public benefits of the proposed conduct surpass any potential public detriments. With this decision, Qantas and China Eastern can maintain their operational coordination as the ACCC thoroughly assesses their re-authorization request.