Qantas partner South African Airways hooks up with Virgin Australia

By David Flynn, February 6 2014

South African Airways (SAA) will partner with Virgin Australia through a new codeshare agreement announced this evening.

The alliance is a surprising one because South African is also a partner with Qantas – the Flying Kangaroo codeshares with SAA's flight from Perth to Johannesburg and Qantas' own Sydney-Johannesburg service.

The new alliance will allow 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.

Those bookings can be made on the South African Airways website today for travel from February 11th.

Virgin Australia maintains its Johannesburg service through Singapore Airlines, as a full codeshare on SQ flights via Singapore, with full Velocity points and status credits earnings.

SAA considers the Virgin Australia partnership won't impact on the airline's joint venture with Qantas and notes that with the tie-up with Virgin Australia doesn't extend to Sydney as that city is already an anchor for the Qantas/SAA agreement.

SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith noted that "we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Virgin Australia in the future."

Travellers on South African Airways can also connect through from SAA's flight into Perth onto Virgin Australia domestic services.

The Jo'burg joint venture

The alliance between Qantas and South African Airways on flights between Australia and Johannesburg will expire in December this year, so both airlines will have to re-apply to the International Air Services Commission if they intend for it to continue.

Qantas previously sought approval from the International Air Services Commission for the alliance to run through to March 2016 however the IASC describing the tie-up as an "effective duopoly", given that Qantas and South African Airways are the only airlines offering direct flights between the two countries.

"The commission is concerned that [the code-share] may deter or delay the introduction of competing services, particularly on the Sydney route, and increase barriers to entry" it said when passing its limited extension to the QF/SA hook-up.

''The commission is not satisfied that the code share would be of benefit to the public beyond 2014.'"

There has been speculation that Qantas will axe its Sydney-Johannesburg route, which operates using a fuel-thirsty Boeing 747-400, as one of many measures to curtail the airline's financial losses, which it expects to be in the range of $250-300 million for the July-December 2013 half-year.

Qantas would shift to serving Johannesburg via Dubai, using codeshare flights currently operated by its partner Emirates.

Emirates also flies directly from Dubai to Cape Town and Durban.

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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.

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Any idea whether this arrangement is reciprocal, if there's anything in it for Velocity members, or whether it's just a case of VA only providing domestic connections for South African tickets?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

As the article states, Velocity members can earn points & status credits. Update: Velocity points & status credits won't be earned on SAA flights, our apoligies for the error. We've been advised this morning that VA's side of the relationship remains a simpler 'interline' one.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Just updated the article now, Chris. Arrangement works both ways, for SAA into Perth and then onwards with VA, and of course VA from MEL-BNE-ADL to Perth and then hopping onto SAA metal.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

Interesting article, I wonder if Star Alliance heavyweight and Virgin part owner Singapore Airlines helped engineer this...

David I am curious, where is the rumour of Qantas dropping Johannesburg comming from, is it a particularily underperforming route?  Sounds like it needs a 787 or two... 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 285

I think the SYD-JHB flight has ETOPS restrictions on it, so has to be handled by a four engine bird

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

There is no SYD-JHB flight. If there was, my mother would be all over it. JHB is Johor Baharu, Malaysia.

Jo'burg is JNB.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 285

True, my bad to mix airport codes with abbreviations for city names. Although, I think its clear what I was referring to 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 938

It doesn't *have* to be operated by a 3/4 engined aircraft.

Using a 2 engine aircraft would either require routing north to be within a 3 hour 1 engine range of Diego Garcia, or for CASA to approve something over ETOPS 180.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

That's what Virgin did with the 777 to JNB... I don't believe the economics work out well cause the flight takes longer.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 938

ETOPS 240 would only require a minor northward track off the great circle.

ETOPS 330 wouldn't require any track north of the great circle.

The problem isn't the airline or aircraft, the problem is CASA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

Very interesting indeed! I've read that SAA has considered axing their flights to Australia as part of their own cost cutting measures.

This codesharing agreement with VA could alleviate some of SAA's financial pressures for this route and ultimately help to justify its continuation.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

Now that's double dipping.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Bizarre…. But from other hands would it be just wonderful if you can book any plane under any company and of course use any points? And even combination? Just dreaming aloud.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Ah, and of course earn credits :-))))

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 5

For those of us Qantas FF members who fly between Perth and Johannesburg, forget about using 72,000 points for a return flight from 1 January 2015. Initial attempts to book such a flight in January 2015 have options on Cathay and/or Qatar. There's also a codeshare with SAA on one sector but, as this article states, the Qantas-SAA codeshare must cease by the end of this year. So instead of a direct flight across the Indian Ocean, it looks like we'll be offered the long way around, with a HUGE increase in the number of points required. 

23 Aug 2011

Total posts 57

I am not sure if QF ever said thet they would withdraw from the SYD/JNB route, they did however say that if the arrangement with SAA is not renewed they may code share on EK, PER/DXB/SA.

I travel frequently on the QF63/64 services and find that J is always close to full, and Y for most of the year has good loads. I can't see anyone wanting to fly to EAST COAST/DXB and down to JNB when you could go via SIN  and save time, on a VA code share.

QF is aware that it can't shrink its long haul any further or it will become irrelevant. May be DXB/LHR or LAX/JFK  may go, but I can't see them reducing capacity or cancelling any other routes. QF Int is one of their strengths over VA- virtual airline, which is alsos not part of a sold alliance. 

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

"I am not sure if QF ever said thet they would withdraw from the SYD/JNB route" - that is quite correct Austline but it is widely expected to be announced soon, a bit like when they dropped SYD-BKK-FRA, they cut a route which was easily swapped for an EK service via Dubai and were able to remove another B747 to help reduce their fleet fuel bill. I think they will do exactly the same to this route!

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 5

Indeed Austline, Qantas have not said they will withdraw from the SYD-JNB route.  Interesting though that Qantas also have not said they will fly SYD-PER-JNB when the codeshare ends in December. My comments were about PER-JNB where QFF members can get a return flight for 72,000 points only until the end of this year. Thereafter it appears we may have to go via some middle-eastern hub and pay thousands of more points for the privilege of a journey that will be more than twice as long. The only other option is to fly to SYD, travel on the Qantas flight to JNB and do the reverse on the way back to Perth. That's 60,000 points for a one-way trip or 120,000 points return, compared to the current 72,000 for a return PER-JNB booking. One also wonders whether Qantas will leave the PER-JNB route to SAA who have just signed a codeshare with Virgin Australia.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Flight OutFromToFlightTravel ClassAward Type Baggage
Thu 22 Jan 15 23:45 Perth Duration: 11h 05m 04:50 Fri Johannesburg Stops: 0 SA Economy Qantas/Partner
Per Adult : 30 kg
  • SA = Flight Operated by South African Airways
Flight BackFromToFlightTravel ClassAward Type Baggage
Mon 26 Jan 15 21:20 Johannesburg Duration: 9h 35m 12:55 Tue Perth Stops: 0 SA Economy Qantas/Partner
Per Adult : 30 kg
  • SA = Flight Operated by South African Airways

Seems to work fine! 1. You are assuming the joint business does not get approved. 2. You are assuming that QF won't try to continue a simple codeshare outside of the joint business venture if it does not get approved  3. The options on Qatar / Cathay are options - I'd prefer to QF to show them rather than not Some people may need to travel on certain dates & would prefer paying higher pts cost for the luxury. 4. If the QF/SA relationship does not continue, if you already hold a current ticket, it is likely QF would just rebook you on the same flight under a SA code.

The sky has not fallen in yet. We do not know what will happen next year... so let's wait and see. Of course, if QF pull out of JNB, you'll probably be flying PER-DXB-JNB... or flying another airline.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Slightly confused at 1am in the morning. I don't think there is a JBA with QF/SAA. My bad. So scrap option 2.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Interesting reading however is the ACCC submission to the IASC:

https://www.iasc.gov.au/applications/files/4716.pdf

Particularly, the method of selling each others seats.

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 5

Thanks Hutch for your reply. However, the IASC has decreed that the codeshare can not continue after 31 December 2014. Consequently the shorter flights across the Indian Ocean between PER and JNB using QF tickets but on a SAA aircraft under the codeshare arrangement, should not be available from 1 January 2015. This was covered in The Australian last November and here's the link: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/qantas-thinks-again-on-south-african-codesharing-deal/story-e6frg95x-1226762106199 

 I've just had a look at the IASC ruling and it appears that Qantas can  appeal and there are still several months in which to do so. That probably explains why you found the booking details which you posted above. Anyway, here's the section in the IASC ruling that probably sums up the situation:

  9. 8 Qantas has sought approval for the code share arrangement until 31 March 2016. Onthe basis of the public and confidential information available to it, the Commission is not satisfied that the code share would be of benefit to the public beyond 2014. Accordingly, the Commission will approve the code share until31 December 2014. After 2014, the Commission considers there is a greater prospect of either entry and/or more competition between the incumbent airlines in the absence of the code share. Should, in 2014, Qantas decide to apply for a continuation of the code share beyond 2014, the Commission would consider the application in the light of developments between now and when an application is received. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 362

If QF cuts its JBH-SYD serve anad directs passengers vix DXB on EK that one less route anyone on a RTW ticket can utilise. Why is QF bothering to stay in OneWorld then? They seem to be doing most things outside the alliance.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 362

apologies, mistype, that JNB not JBH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Are there enough bums on seats to make daily QF B747 ex SYD and a daily SA A340 ex PER to JNB and vice versa financially viable?

Add the ETOPS restrictions for twin-engine metal, will a B787 or A350 be viable alternatives to maintain presence (if not capacity) on these routes?

If QF does withdraw from SYD-JNB it will be a blow to RTW options and a quick non-stop trip between Australia and Africa when compared with the alternatives of going via DXB, SIN, KUL or HKG.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

In the worst case, I'm sure a 744 running SYD-PER-JNB and return should be doable.

23 Aug 2011

Total posts 57

Where are people getting the possible withdrawel of QF from SYD/JNB as this will not happen. Also QF wiil not operate via PER as the costs are much higer and yield is lower out of PER than the East Coast.

SA may exit PER but with the new VA code share this may in fact save it for a while. At the end of the day VA wouldn't worry if SA goes as it will mean more feed for their code share on SQ over SIN. 

27 Feb 2013

Total posts 12

Why does Qantas not fly SYD-MEL-JNB, since the SYD-JNB passes directly over Melbourne on most days, this would increase the domestic capacity between SYD-MEL without any additional capital investment. This may then justify the use of a A380 on the route!!

16 Jan 2015

Total posts 1

Booked on Qantas QF63 out and QFQ 64 back for August. Booked and paid last Wednesday, confirmed two hours later. Phone call next day, Thursday, not 24 hours later. Qantas had cancelled QF 64 and put us on the next day. No sorry or help. Qantas has not improved, and will they cancell flights again. 

13 Dec 2016

Total posts 1

can I use the qantas club lounge while I have an 8 hr wait to board SAA in perth

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