Qantas axes South African Airways alliance

By David Flynn, February 21 2014
Qantas axes South African Airways alliance

Qantas will abandon its alliance with South African Airways under which the airlines share flights between Australia and Johannesburg.

The codeshare agreement will end on May 31st this year.

Qantas says it will retain its Sydney-Johannesburg route but will no longer offer bookings on South African Airways' flight from Perth to Johannesburg.

Instead, Qantas will offer flights via Dubai with its partner Emirates, which operates three daily services between Perth and Dubai with onward connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

That means a long trek for the Flying Kangaroo's Perth passengers.

South African Airways' Perth-Johannesburg flight takes around 10.5 hours – the same amount of time as flying from Perth to Dubai on Emirates.

Qantas says that "customers who choose to travel on Emirates operated services to Johannesburg will have a connection time in Dubai of 1 hour and 40 minutes", after which there's another eight hours in the air.

This means the Dubai detour will add almost 10 hours to the trip.

Virgin Australia set to step in?

Earlier this month South African Airways revealed a new partnership with Virgin Australia which allows SAA passengers to book from Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide – but not Sydney – onto SAA's Perth-Johannesburg flight by connecting to Perth on domestic Virgin Australia routes.

Read: Qantas partner South African Airways hooks up with Virgin Australia

At the time SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith noted that "we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Virgin Australia in the future," so that time may well be at hand.

The Qantas-SAA alliance was due to expire in December this year, requiring both airlines to re-apply to the International Air Services Commission before it could continue into 2015.

"Regulators had previously indicated that an extension of the codeshare beyond December 2014 was unlikely, so winding it up earlier means we can create new options for customers travelling between Perth and Johannesburg" a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

SAA will add Perth-Sydney codeshare route with VA since Qantas and SAA will quit its alliance.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 114

Qantas continues is abandonment of the Perth to Perth via Dubai is frankly an insult...won't be long before Qantas offers Perth to Sydney flight via Dubai... 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

True... but not sure what could have been done about this?

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 5

Agree that it's an insult. We'll look at flying with SAA but if their fares are unreasonable, we'll look at flying Singapore Airlines or Air Mauritius to travel between PER and CPT. That way you avoid having to board a domestic flight at JNB. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2012

Total posts 371

Good news SYD to JNB flight retained

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1379

Wouldn't bet on it for long.

SA will redirect a bunch of pax that used to fly on the codeshare to VA to PER, then SA to JNB.

This will reduce the loads on QF63/64

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

With that theory, PER - JNB will go as QF won't be directing passengers onto that service. Not saying that QF63/64 won't go, but i'm not sure whether the axing of the codeshare will be final nail. If it was, why wouldn't they just axe it now and use that as the excuse.

Perhaps, QF may reduce the frequency to 3-4weekly. Allows them to retire another bird & reduce capacity... but would be unfriendly to business.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 172

Is the VA booking end up and running. The SAA website will through book to domestic VA flights but last time I checked the VA website won't find SAA metal. Any thoughts?

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 5

Can't answer your question but what are the odds of SAA hiking their PER-JNB fares when they get the monopoly for direct flights in a few months' time? I'll be surprised if an economy class return ticket does not rise by around $250 as SAA seek to capitalise on having the shortest journey over the Indian Ocean between PER and JNB.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

Qantas shuld make a new alliance between Comair, which is BA's partner, to keep the connections to other destinations in South Africa. It's natural to shake hands with oneworld partner.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1023

Comair is a BA franchise and part owned by BA.

With BA not liking QF much at the moment (due to the ditching of the JSA and QF tie up with EK), BA might not like/let QF create an alliance of some kind with Comair.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 181

Qantas CEO sticking the knife in to his WA customers again.  Well done Joyce.

27 Feb 2013

Total posts 12

I would like to see QF63/64 stop in Melbourne, it overflies Melbourne most days anyway.  This would ensure a better load, extend their services from Melbourne and provide additional domestic services from Sydney for international connections or passengers who may prefer to fly on a 747 (or even an A380 (we can hope)).The stop may not suit Sydney passengers but is is preferable to losing the service altogether!

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas axes South African Airways alliance