For years, flights between Australia and the United States have been dominated by the Qantas and United Airlines duopoly due to an agreement between the two countries that limited any other airlines flying the route to only four flights per week. This severely limited competition on the route, drove up prices and resulted in poor service, to the extent that serious travellers would only fly with Qantas.
Now, with a new government in Australia, a new open skies agreement has been struck between the two countries, and there are no longer any restrictions on flights for any Australian or US airlines.
Virgin Blue has been planning to fly on this route for a while now, and will commence services towards the end of this year under the banner of V Australia.
The new agreement, however, will not remove restrictions on airlines from other countries on the US-Australia route. Singapore Airlines has long wanted to fly a Sydney to Los Angeles service, but is still hamstrung by Australia’s refusal to allow such a move.