Qantas is unlikely to find out whether it has final clearance from the competition regulator for its extensive alliance with Emirates until the middle of this week, just days before it is due to begin.
The airlines plan to launch their tie-up on Sunday but the absence of a final decision from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission leaves their management teams on tenterhooks. The shifting of Qantas' main overseas hub from Singapore to Emirates' base in Dubai is a highly complex operation.
The deal with the Middle Eastern airline - which is mostly focused on routes to Europe via Dubai - is expected to win final approval but the regulator could impose stiff conditions on code-sharing on flights between Australia and New Zealand.
The ACCC has previously indicated that it will make the pair live up to their promise not to reduce overall capacity on trans-Tasman routes. The airlines also need approval from New Zealand's Transport Minister, Gerry Brownlee, for trans-Tasman flights.