British Airways, Qatar pitch joint venture for Australian flights

BA seeks to piggyback on Qatar Airways' extensive network, with over 100 routes on the JV roster.

By David Flynn, January 23 2020
British Airways, Qatar pitch joint venture for Australian flights

British Airways and Qatar Airways plan to partner on flights to Australia through a joint business agreement which could take wing in the second half of this year.

The pact would step beyond the default relationship of both airlines as members of the Oneworld alliance, which the proposal – lodged with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by multinational law firm King & Wood Mallesons – describes as "arm’s length codeshare and interline arrangements."

Instead, if approved by Australia's consumer watchdog, BA and Qatar would be allowed to co-ordinate on schedules, pricing, sales and marketing, frequent flyer programs and lounge access on over 100 routes, with the overseas destinations predominately in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.

While the UK flag-carrier has just one daily flight to Sydney (via Singapore), Qatar Airways' network extends to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, with Brisbane often said to be waiting in the wings.

Qatar's Australian fleet includes its flagship Airbus A380, the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777, some of which also sport the airline's widely-acclaimed Qsuites business class.

Best in the sky: Qatar Airways' Qsuite business class.
Best in the sky: Qatar Airways' Qsuite business class.

The agreement would encompass all of Qatar's Australian destinations except for Sydney, which the proposal notes is already served by both BA and Qatar Airways, with the Sydney-London route "highly contested... any attempt by the Parties to co-ordinate on the routes would be quickly defeated by the other airlines who offer services on the route, including Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific."

Nine 'key routes' are highlighted in the joint business proposal:

  • Canberra – London
  • Melbourne - London
  • Melbourne - Edinburgh
  • Melbourne - Manchester
  • Adelaide – Manchester
  • Adelaide – London
  • Perth - London
  • Perth - Edinburgh
  • Perth - Manchester

Other UK and European destinations include Newcastle, Leeds, Glasgow, Inverness, Belfast, Cardiff, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Bilbao,  Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Hannover, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Basel and Luxembourg.

BA and Qatar Airways "are seeking interim authorisation as soon as possible" for the joint venture, which would run through until 2025, and have requested that the ACCC grant interim authorisation by early February ahead of a final decision.

The 'joint business agreement' plan submitted to the ACCC – with some sensitive financial information redacted – promises and end-result of  "lower average per-passenger costs and, in turn, lower fares as strong competition from other major airlines and alliances means cost efficiencies will be passed on."

Other passenger benefits called out include "the ability to jointly offer loyalty benefits, including reciprocal earn and burn of frequent flyer points, status recognition (and) access to lounges" – benefits already included through both airlines' membership in the Oneworld alliance, but which at the same time could be beefed up as part of the JV.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 140

Well at least BA pax will have the opportunity to receive good product and customer service being on a QR service.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 17

My thoughts exactly, JKH. In terms of product and customer service, this is surely the most unequal 'marriage' we're likely to see anytime soon. BA customers routed onto QR will feel like they've won the lotto, regardless of which cabin they're seated in. As for QR customers travelling with BA...............

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 223

"BA and Qatar would be allowed to co-ordinate on schedules, pricing, sales"
I feel like this never bodes well for customers.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 131

Should 'sort' in the below sentence not have been 'sport'?

Qatar's Australian fleet includes its flagship Airbus A380, the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777, some of which also sort the airline's widely-acclaimed Qsuites business class.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2351

It should, and it now does, thanks :)

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 411

Regular QR pax will be shocked transferring from QR to BA and not in a good way. BA's pax won't know what hit them. But like the QF EK arrangement. Chalk and cheese alliances.

11 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

SO does this mean with a new joint venture Qatar AND BA

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 523

Yes. Which is not a surprise as QR is an investor in IAG which owns BA, Iberia and others.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 30

If approved it will be just another example of Australia's ridiculously open sky policy. No other country in the world would allow international/non home country carriers to become a competitive cartel to compete against local carriers. For the sake of Australian aviation I hope it is shut down.

11 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

my 1st entry didn't type out correctly question is will BA be flying to Melb as is Qatar Airways .

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

15 Mar 2019

Total posts 7

Where exactly is the benefit to QR passengers?


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