Almost six years to the day since their first announcement, British Airways, and Qatar Airways said today that they will complete the expansion of their Joint Business Partnership. The two carriers claim they offer the largest joint airline business, which includes 185 destinations and sixty countries. Joint business plan BA and Qatar Airways is now complete.
In the last phase announced today, another 42 destinations have been added to the shared network. New additions include Sweden, Norway, Italy, the Maldives, and Singapore. “The complementary networks uniquely access dozens of countries that no other alliance or joint business provides. The partnership also ensures access to more cities around the world than ever before, continuing to support global trade, tourism, investment, and cultural connection”, a joint media statement says. The airlines’ long-haul hubs in London and Doha will benefit from the new additions.
Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker is quoted as saying: “The joint business between our airlines cements both Qatar Airways and British Airways as industry leaders, aiming to provide the utmost flexibility and unrivaled connectivity to our customers.” British Airways CEO Sean Doyle called the completion of the partnership “a huge milestone in our long-standing relationship with Qatar Airways, an airline that shares our passion for customer service, choice, and flexibility.”
Qatar Airways and British Airways first announced a partnership in September 2016. The first phase, which became effective on October 30 that year, covered codeshare agreements to seventy destinations, including seven daily rotations from each airline between Doha and London Heathrow. In March 2018, another fourteen destinations were added to the partnership.
For the first time, this included joint services to Australia and New Zealand. In May 2020, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the BA/Qatar flights. The ACCC stated that the partnership “is likely to result in public benefits in the form of enhanced products and services. There is likely to be minimal detriment to the public, with strong competitors remaining on the routes in question.”
The Covid crisis prevented the partnership to expand quicker, so it took until December 2021 when the two OneWorld partners went to the next phase to bring the number of joint destinations to over 143. Services between Doha and London were expanded to six per day, including the first ever from/to Gatwick that was launched in December.
The two airlines have had close ties for some years. Qatar Airways owns a 25.1 percent share in BA’s parent airline, International Airlines Group (IAG). It has had a commercial agreement with IAG Cargo since 2014. When needed, they helped each other when capacity was short. When BA crew went on strike in the summer of 2017, Qatar Airways wet-leased nine Airbus A320ceo’s so that British Airways was able to uphold its operations.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.