China Eastern (MU) made a commitment to Cairns service based on understandings it had with Qantas, understandings we now understand have been breached, in China Eastern's view. One of those commitments was for codeshare-partner service on with Qantas to China via Cairns. Unknown to China Eastern however, Qantas was withdrawing domestic service from Cairns that would allow this codeshare to work. The codeshare was implemented at Sydney and Melbourne, but the plans for the codeshare were abandoned for Cairns.
And MU has been counting on traffic feed-in from Qantas and
Jetstar passengers. But shortly after the MU flights started to Cairns, Qantas abandoned Singapore and Bangkok stops in favor of consolidating their European service in partnership with Emirates, and then began discussions for a 15-25% investment in Qantas by CHINA SOUTHERN!
Confused? Let's put it this way. Instead of "dancing with the one that brung you", Qantas was out cruising for whores (another airline) all while continuing to whisper sweet-nothings into the ears of China Eastern. Kinda like the Rupert Murdoch marriage to Wendi Deng. . .
Is it no wonder China Eastern is rethinking their whole Australian strategy? Their so-called partner has emasculated their international service (abandoning Europe to Emirates, with passengers quickly discovering cheaper fares on Etihad, Singapore, Cathay Pacific, or even booked with Emirates directly) and continued to look for a "better" China partner behind MU's back.
Is China Eastern going to resume service after the suspension? Who knows. . .perhaps if the Queensland government throws enough taxpayer money at them. It's of course interesting that the Assistant Minister for Tourism Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King isn't even being allowed to comment on this issue, still
Meanwhile, everyone's ignoring the 15th Anniversary of United Airlines uninterrupted service to Cairns from Guam. Congrats!