Qantas has won the initial green light from Australia’s competition authority for its proposed alliance with Emirates.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the benefits of the tie-up – such as co-ordinating ticket prices and schedules – would outweigh the reduced competition.

A final decision is due to be made in March.

The deal with Emirates will see Qantas end its relationship with British Airways on the ‘kangaroo route’ between the UK and Australia.

Qantas is seeking the alliance as it aims to turnaround its loss-making international service.

Commission chairman Rod Sims said: “The ACCC considers that the alliance is likely to result in material, although not substantial, benefits to Australian consumers.

“The main benefit arising from the alliance is an improved product and service offering by the two airlines to their customers.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said: “A key objective is to make Qantas International strong and viable, and bring it back to profitability. This partnership will help us do that.”