BA and Qatar Airways to establish joint-venture on flights between Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia via Doha

London Air Travel » Africa

British Airways and Qatar Airways have today announced the formation of a joint-venture on the airlines’ respective flights to UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia via their respective hubs in Doha and London Heathrow.

The joint-venture will take effect from 30 October 2016.

The two airlines will codeshare on all their respective flights between the UK and Doha. This will include Qatar Airways operated flights from both London Heathrow and UK regional airports (Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester).

Qatar Airways will codeshare on selected British Airways operated flights from London Heathrow to the UK and mainland Europe.

British Airways will codeshare on selected Qatar Airways routes from Doha to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

These routes include Colombo, Ho Chi Minh City, Multan, Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Denpasar Bali, Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Basra, Baghdad, Khartoum, Sulaimaniyah, Kilimanjaro, Al Najaf, Dhaka, and Djibouti.

There appear to be some exclusions.

For example, Qatar Airways flights to Australia (which BA serves with its own aircraft and codeshares with Qantas Airways and Cathay Pactific) are not mentioned. Nor are BA flights to North America included, where the growth of Middle Eastern airlines has been politically contentious.

Qatar Airways will not codeshare on British Airways routes from London Heathrow to the UK and mainland Europe which it serves directly from Doha.

Similarly, British Airways will not codeshare on Qatar Airways routes from Doha which it serves directly from London Heathrow.

The two airlines will also seek to co-ordinate schedules and fare pricing.

BA and Qatar have been working more closely in recent years. However, codesharing has been limited to a small number of routes and has not been helped by the fact that, until the end of October, BA flies to Doha via Bahrain and its flights were not well timed for onward connections. BA will fly to Doha non-stop from 30 October 2016.

For BA, this deal enlarges its route network to cover a number of destinations it does not serve from London Heathrow such as routes it has withdrawn from in Pakistan and Africa. Qatar Airways gains access to BA’s distribution network and frequent flyer base in the UK to help it compete more effectively against Etihad Airways and Emirates.

Qatar Airways now owns 20% of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group. Qatar Airways has also announced a codeshare arrangement with fellow IAG member airline Vueling.

More details are available in the IAG press release and codeshare flights are on sale now at ba.com

BA to suspend London Heathrow – Entebbe (Uganda) from 2 October 2015

London Air Travel » Africa

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has announced it is to suspend its four times weekly flight from London Heathrow to Entebbe in Uganda from 2 October 2015.

The last flight (BA63) will depart from London Heathrow to Entebbe on 2 October 2015. The last flight from Entebbe to London Heathrow (BA62) will depart on 3 October 2015.

This means that London Heathrow will not have a direct link to Entebbe after the route has been suspended.

The airline has cited commercial reasons for the suspension of the route. It is likely that competitive pressure from Middle Eastern carriers are a factor. BA suspended Lusaka in 2013 and Dar es Salaam in 2012.

Currently, affected passengers have the option of a full refund, taking an earlier flight whilst the route is still operational, or taking an alternative BA flight to Nairobi (BA will not meet any onward travel expenses).

BA do say they are looking at re-accommodation options on other airlines. It normally takes at least a couple of weeks for these to be announced and we would advise waiting before taking any action.

Full rebooking options are detailed on BA’s trade website.

For passengers looking at alternative routes, options include KLM (via Amsterdam), Brussels Airlines (via Brussels), Emirates (via Dubai), Qatar Airways (via Doha), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Turkish Airlines (via Istabul).

Update 28 July: BA is now offering affected passengers the option of a re-route on either Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi or Brussels Airlines via Brussels up to 15 July 2016. Passengers should contact either their travel agent or BA directly to change their tickets.

Ebola: BA suspends Freetown and Monrovia

London Air Travel » Africa

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

As has been widely reported in the UK media, British Airways has suspended its flights from London Heathrow to Freetown and Monrovia from Wednesday 6 August until Sunday 31 August 2014 at the earliest, following an outbreak on Ebola in the region.

BA has provided details of rebooking and cancellation options for affected passengers.

Passengers are entitled to a full refund or to rebook their flights at a later date.

Alternatively, passengers can travel between London Heathrow and alternative BA destinations in Africa. These are Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana and Nairobi in Kenya. Any additional consequential costs must be met by passengers.

Update: Flights are now cancelled until 31 March 2015. BA is no longer allowing reroutings to Lagos, Abuja, nor Nairobi. Passengers booked to travel up to 31 December 2014 also have the option of an alternative routing to Freetown or Monrovia via Brussels on SN Brussels airlines.

Update: This route has since been suspended permanently

BA adds flights to Accra and Entebbe in Summer 2014

London Air Travel » Africa

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

Quite a mixed picture for BA in Africa at the moment. Yesterday, BA announced that its route to Lusaka was being dropped and this followed the suspension of its route to Dar es Salaam earlier this year.

On a more positive note, BA is to increase flights to Accra from daily to 10 weekly from Sunday 27 October 2013. Furthermore, the daily flight will be upgaged from a Boeing 777 to a Boeing 747 from Sunday 30 March 2014. This is no doubt a competitive response to Virgin Atlantic withdrawing from this route.

London – Accra

Flight BA0081 Depart 14:50 Arrive 20:20 (Daily)
Flight BA0079 Depart 22:45 Arrive 05:00 (Sat, Mon, Wed)

Accra – London

Flight BA0080 Depart 06:55 Arrive 14:55 (Thu, Sun, Tue)
Flight BA0078 Depart 22:45 Arrive 06:20 (Daily)

Flights to Entebbe in Uganda also increase from three flights to four flights a week from 30 March 2014 and also benefit from being retimed.

Virgin Atlantic suspends London Heathrow – Accra from 23 September 2013

London Air Travel » Africa

Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has today announced that it is to suspend its five weekly service from London Heathrow to Accra in Ghana from 23 September 2013, when the last service to Accra will operate.

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