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Qantas, Emirates Ink Partnership - Chauffeur Included

Qantas Airways on Thursday signed a 10-year partnership with Emirates. The move ends the Australian airline's long-term relationship with British Airways, as Qantas tries to lift its struggling international division, according to The Associated Press.

This file photo taken on September 21, 2008 shows the first Qantas Airbus A380 passing the Qantas fleet at Sydney International Airport after two years of production delays and 200 million USD in compensation. Australian flag-carrier Qantas on August 19, 2009 posted an 88 percent drop in annual net profit to 96.6 million USD and unveiled a massive cost-cutting plan to counter the financial beating.
Torsten Blackwood | AFP | Getty Images
This file photo taken on September 21, 2008 shows the first Qantas Airbus A380 passing the Qantas fleet at Sydney International Airport after two years of production delays and 200 million USD in compensation. Australian flag-carrier Qantas on August 19, 2009 posted an 88 percent drop in annual net profit to 96.6 million USD and unveiled a massive cost-cutting plan to counter the financial beating.

Under the new alliance, Qantas will move its hub for European flights to Dubai from Singapore, and coordinate with Emirates on ticket prices and flight schedules, AP reports.

Plus, premium cabin passengers on long-haul flights will get exclusive chauffeur service before and after their flight.

"This is the most significant partnership the Qantas Group has ever formed with another airline, moving past the traditional alliance model to a new level," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says in a press release.

According to the AP, Qantas in August reported a 245 million Australian dollar ($249 U.S. million) annual loss and blamed the result on rising fuel prices, a series of worker strikes and its ailing international division. It was the first time since Qantas went private in 1995 that the airline — nicknamed the "Flying Kangaroo" — reported a net loss.

"A key objective is to make Qantas International strong and viable, and bring it back to profitability," Joyce says in the release. "This partnership will help us do that."

Once the partnership with Emirates is underway next April, Qantas will offer passengers traveling in first and business class on flights greater than 12 hours complimentary chauffeur car service to and from the airport.

Passengers will be collected in a luxury vehicle and driven to the airport to meet their flight. On arrival at their destination, they will be met by another chauffeur service and driven to their hotel, office or home.

Emirates said Qantas will be the only airline besides itself to operate out of its base at Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3, the AP reports. The gleaming, shopping-mall like terminal opened in October 2008, doubling the airport's capacity to 60 million passengers annually.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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