British Airways will add its BA code to Qatar Airways flights to Australia from late October, offering an easier way for its rusted-on travellers to make the long journey 'down under' – especially in lieu of BA's own London-Singapore-Sydney route, which was suspended in April 2020 and may not return until sometime in 2021.
Beginning October 25, Qatar Airways' flights from London to Doha and then onwards to Australia will carry a BA code alongside their native QR number.
For example, Qatar Airways' 8am Boeing 777 flight QR6 from London can now be booked through British Airways as BA7006; the mid-afternoon QR7 becomes BA7004, and so on.
Once passengers reach Doha they can change onto a similarly BA-coded Qatar Airways flight to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth – although that's where the BA codeshares become more cryptic, such as QR906 to Sydney being badged as BA6389.
Brisbane is noticeably absent from BA's codeshare roster, as Qatar Airways' current schedule only includes the Queensland capital as far as October 23 – although the airline is hopeful that it can continue to offer Doha-Brisbane flights beyond that date, potentially including its new Brisbane-Auckland leg.
Executive Traveller has approached both British Airways and Qatar Airways for comment.
British Airways and Qatar Airways were earlier this year granted approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to launch a five-year joint business agreement to partner on flights between the UK, Europe and Australia.
The pact strides well beyond the current "arm’s length codeshare and interline arrangements" relationship of both airlines by allowing BA and Qatar to co-ordinate on schedules, pricing, sales and marketing, capacity, frequent flyer programs and lounge access on selected routes between Australia and the UK/Europe via Doha.
The northern hemisphere end of the alliance taps into over 100 destinations predominately in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
In addition to being a fellow member of the Oneworld alliance, Qatar Airways holds a 25% stake in British Airways' parent IAG and has confirmed it will fully support IAG's planned €2.75 billion equity fund raising, as well as place two non-executive directors on IAG's board.
"Our investment in IAG has always been for the long term and we continue to support the company through these difficult times for our industry," Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said.
"We are confident that IAG will emerge from this global crisis as Europe’s leading airline group and we look forward to working closely together to deliver our joint vision to enhance travel opportunities for airline passengers across the globe."