British Airways (part of IAG that is 20% owned by Qatar Airways) has entered into a Joint Business Agreement (surprise!) with Qatar Airways.
The airlines will codeshare all flights between UK & Doha. British Airways will place its code on flights operated Qatar Airways to destinations in Africa, Middle East and Asia that the airline doesn’t serve. Qatar Airways in turn will place its code on BA operated flights to destinations in the UK and Europe (majority of which it doesn’t fly directly from Doha).
Here’s the press release from BA:
International Airlines Group (IAG) announced today a joint business agreement between British Airways and Qatar Airways which will start on October 30, 2016.
The joint business will benefit customers by providing better links between the UK, continental Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa, with a greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. The revenue-sharing agreement will allow the airlines to cooperate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible options and an attractive range of fares.
Customers will be able to travel more easily on the airlines’ combined route network which will serve more than 70 destinations. The joint business will see the two airlines code-sharing on all non-stop flights operated between the UK and Doha and connecting services to destinations in the UK, continental Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. This will include British Airways’ daily direct flights from London Heathrow to Doha.
This agreement will also strengthen the oneworld alliance and enable it to compete more effectively on these routes.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to announce this joint business with Qatar Airways which is one of the world’s premier airlines. This agreement will benefit customers by giving them access to more destinations through Qatar Airways’ extensive network. It will also allow us to provide easier journeys with better aligned schedules, more frequencies and improved flight transfers. This partnership follows the commercial agreement with IAG Cargo signed two years ago and enhances our relationship with Qatar Airways further.”
Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group’s chief executive, commented: “British Airways is an airline steeped in history and prestige and we are proud to be partnering with them to offer our passengers an even greater choice of global destinations. This partnership brings together two world-class airlines to provide an enhanced operation for our passengers with increased daily flights between London and Doha, greater choice of flight schedules, wider range of fares and improved members benefits.
“Today’s announcement reinforces our already established relationship with IAG and we look forward to welcoming British Airways’ direct flights to our hub, Hamad International Airport, where we can provide passengers with seamless access to our global network of more than 150 destinations.”
This joint business agreement is not as deep as the JVA’s (Joint Venture Agreements) that for example BA has in place for transatlantic travel with American Airlines, Finnair, and Iberia where the airlines pool the revenue and co-ordinate capacity and fares.
Flying to destinations in Africa via Doha is quite a detour as is flying to many destinations in Europe via London Heathrow. This does help, however, BA members that prefer staying on BA marketed flights on their trips to destinations in Middle East and Asia (I would assume that India is included as well).
You have to remember that Oneworld Alliance credits flights based on the marketing carrier. This means that British Airways Executive Club members will get their bonus Avios on flights operated by Qatar Airways that are marketed by BA. Let’s see if this will spread to other Qatar Airways flights as well.
Closer ties between IAG owned airlines of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, and Qatar Airways shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. As I points out on the opening paragraph, the Qatar Airways owns 20% of this airline group.