Qantas will pick up a new partner if Ireland's Aer Lingus rejoins the Oneworld alliance following a £1 billion (A$1.9 billion) takeover by British Airways parent International Airlines Group.
IAG's billion-pound play has been given the thumbs-up by the Aer Lingus board, although the proposal will also need approval from shareholders Ryanair and the Irish Government, which together hold 55% of the Dublin-based carrier.
Aer Lingus would run as a separate business with its own brand, management and operations, IAG maintains, and in addition to signing up to Oneworld – which Aer Lingus left in March 2007 – the airline would also become part of BA's trans-Atlantic joint venture with American Airlines.
Aer Lingus operates in the space between a low-cost carrier and a more traditional full service airline, similar to Airberlin, although this year it will begin upgrading its twin-aisle Airbus A330 jets which fly between Dublin and the USA to a new business class with fully lie-flat seats.
Based on the Vantage Suite created by Thompson Aero Seating, the seats are similar to what you’ll now find on JetBlue in the United States and also share some design DNA with the new Qantas Business Suite.
The unique 2-2-1 layout means that most passengers will have direct aisle access, although they'll all enjoy AC and USB power outlets plus free wi-fi.
The seats transform into a fully-flat two-metre bed.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT