BA and Qatar Airways to establish joint-venture

London Air Travel » Asia

Qatar Airways aircraft in Oneworld livery
Qatar Airways aircraft in Oneworld livery (Image Credit: Oneworld)

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its route network to cover a number of destinations it does not serve from London Heathrow such as routes it has withdrawn from in Pakistan and Africa.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

Cathay Pacific launches new brand campaign #lifewelltravelled

London Air Travel » Asia

Cathay Pacific Brushwing Sign
Cathay Pacific Brushwing Sign (Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)

Cathay Pacific has launched its first over-arching brand campaign since the airline undertook a very subtle rebranding exercise last year.

The campaign emphasises how Cathay Pacific’s Asian hospitality and attention to detail improves the travel experience for passengers, whether the frequent business traveller or occasional passenger, and makes “Life Well Travelled”.

In keeping with its stated brand philosophy “Softly spoken. Strongly felt.”, Cathay Pacific’s passengers take centre stage in the campaign.

It is supported by a dedicated Cathay Pacific microsite which features contributions from the airline’s staff and frequent travellers. The campaign also features regular postings on Cathay Pacific’s Instagram account.
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Finnair unveils routes and cabins for Airbus A350 aircraft

London Air Travel » Asia

Finnair Airbus A350 Business class cabin
Finnair Airbus A350 Business class cabin

Over the past fifteen years, Finnair has been steadily, but surely, building a niche as the European airline that provides the most efficient link between Europe and Asia via its hub in Helsinki.

In 2000, Finnair served just three destinations in Asia. Now, it serves 15 destinations. Finnair also serves a number of cities without direct links to London including Chongqing and Xi’an in China and Nagoya and Osaka in Japan.

Unfortunately, this has yet to translate into long term profitability for the airline. On Friday, Finnair joined the list of European airlines to issue a profit warning.

However, the airline is committed to its strategy and aims to double revenues from Asia by 2020. This week, Finnair revealed the interiors for its new Airbus A350 aircraft which will replace its quad-engine Airbus A340 aircraft and ply routes from Helsinki to Asia from mid 2015.

The airline has 11 firm orders for Airbus A350 aircraft, and a further 8 options.

The aircraft will initially be deployed on flights to Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing in 2015. Hong Kong and Singapore will be served by the A350 in 2016.

In business class, Finnair has opted for the Zodiac Cirrus III seat which American Airlines (Boeing 777-300 flights only), Air France and Cathay Pacific have also adopted.

This seat provides both a fully flat bed and direct aisle access for all passengers, which is increasingly becoming standard for business class cabins. Finnair’s seat will also include touchscreen in flight entertainment and AC and USB power sockets. There will be a total of 46 seats in the cabin.

Continue reading “Finnair unveils routes and cabins for Airbus A350 aircraft”