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its route network to cover a number of destinations it does not serve from London Heathrow such as routes it has withdrawn from in Pakistan and Africa.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