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Australia’s regulator axes Qantas-Japan Airlines deal

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Qantas wins in another High Court battle

Australia’s Consumer Watchdog blocks Qantas and Japan Airlines alliance

The Australian Competition and Consumer Chair has ruled against the joint business agreement between Qantas and Japan Airlines. The ACCC says the coordinated deal would hamper competitors on Australia-Japan routes.

Qantas and Japan Airlines announced the plan in December 2020, to launch in July 2021. Both major airlines wanted to use the plan to reboot the aviation sector and international travel.

However, the ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, says it is essential that competition between airlines is maintained to help the aviation industry’s full recovery. The plan did not pass the ACCC’s public benefits test.

“Airlines have been severely impacted by the pandemic and this has been a very difficult period for them,”

“But preserving competition between airlines is the key to the long-term recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, once international travel restrictions are eased.”

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chair Rod Sims

Protecting the aviation sector

Qantas and Japan Airlines traditionally flew approximately 85-90% of total passengers flying between Australia and Japan. The ACCC says granting authorisation for the alliance would remove competition between Qantas and Japan Airlines. It would also make it extremely difficult for other airlines to operate on routes between Australia and Japan.

Virgin Australia has also petitioned against the plan saying, “it will be more difficult to enter the Australia-Japan route if it is required to compete with Qantas and Japan Airlines acting jointly rather than as individual competing airlines.

The ACCC reiterates the alliance between Qantas and Japan Airlines would stop all competition between the airlines including price and service for three years.

“The ACCC can only authorise an agreement between competitors if it is satisfied the public benefits will outweigh the harm to competition. The alliance did not pass this test.”

Australia Competition and Consumer Commission Chair 

Qantas and JAL expressed disappointment with the ACCC decision in a joint statement on Monday, though they said they would continue their codeshare arrangements and oneworld alliance partnership.

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

Business

EU plans to force USB-C chargers for all phones

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EU plans to make USB-C connectors the standard port for all smartphones and tablets, angering Apple

The European Commission rules to force manufacturers to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices. The European Commission is aiming to have a common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets, cameras, headphones, and handheld videogame consoles.

The ruling has been in the making for a decade, with environmental concerns the main driving force behind the historic move.

Reducing waste

The rule will reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device. Politicians have been pushing for this uni9versal charging rule for over a decade.

Disposed and unused charging cables generate approximately 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.  Research shows the average person owns around three mobile phone chargers.

A decade ago there were about 30 different types of chargers, now, phones use either USB-C, lightning, and USB micro-B.

Rotten Apple

The move would see all smartphones in the EU sold with the same charger, a motion Apple is not happy about. The tech giant says this move would damage ongoing innovation.

The tech giant is the main manufacturer of smartphones using a custom charging port, as its iPhone series uses an Apple-made “Lightning” connector. Apple argues its Lightning connector is used by one billion active iPhone users.

“We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,”

Apple spokesperson

The proposed changes would apply to the charging port on the device body and will also standardise charging speeds. It may be a number of years before the proposals come into effect.

It will be thoroughly debated by the European Parliament and national Governments.

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Business

Trade war fires up as U.S companies pass tariffs onto consumers

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Japan Exports

The trade war between the United States and China is continuing to heat up, but this hasn’t stopped American businesses from leaving the Chinese mainland

This all follows the US implementing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese consumer products in a bid to bring manufacturing back to American shores.

A new report has found this is hurting the US economy and has not been successful in pressuring China to change any of its economic policies.

Meanwhile, businesses based in either China and America have remained “deeply integrated” with the other… with foreign investment into China hitting a record high of US$144.4 billion in 2020.

This comes as Joe Biden moves to review US policy towards China, including the previous policies of Donald Trump.

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Business

Energy prices soar for Europeans as winter chill approaches

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There are growing concerns for European residents as energy prices continue to skyrocket in the lead-up to winter

The wholesale prices of natural gas in Britain, France, Spain, Germany and Italy have reached record highs, with overall household bills now through the roof.

This all comes as the continent braces for a cold winter and fuel is needed for increased electricity generation.

Meanwhile, the Europen Consumer Organisation warns it has seen a huge price increase… saying “It’s worrying ahead of the winter when gas consumption will necessarily increase.”

This latest price hike is being caused by a number of factors… including a depletion of natural gas stockpiles during a cold spring and a growing demand for gas in China.

Russia is also supplying less gas to the market than it ever has before.

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