Australia’s competition watchdog is opposing a Qantas plan to resume flights between Australia and Japan.
Qantas and Japan Airlines have proposed cooperating on flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Tokyo as airlines struggle due to international coronavirus restrictions.
Before the pandemic, Qantas and Japan Airlines competed for customers flying directly between the cities.
Under the bid, the two businesses would share resources in order to cut costs.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said while the proposal would more quickly allow flights to resume, there were dangers to competition and airlines would benefit at the expense of customers.
Qantas and Japan Airlines have asked permission to run the flights for three years, and the commission is inviting feedback on its draft decision by May 27 ahead of its final decision.
Before COVID-19, Japan Airlines and Qantas were the only airlines offering direct flights between Melbourne and Tokyo.
The same airlines, and All Nippon Airways, were the only providers of direct flights between Sydney and Tokyo.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has been desperate to cut costs since the pandemic crippled international travel.
In February, the airline reported a first-half underlying loss before tax of $1.03 billion and a $6.9 billion drop in revenue.
Thousands of workers have been made redundant.
In March, the watchdog approved a similar proposal between Qantas and American Airlines.
Shares in Qantas were lower by 1.35 per cent to $4.74 at 1537 AEST.