oneworld alliance members British Airways and Qantas were once BFFs, participating in a joint venture on the London-Sydney (“Kangaroo”) route. Money-losing Qantas exited that arrangement in favor of working outside the alliance with Emirates, which has led to major Emirates growth in the Australia market.
Emirates competitor and Gulf mega-carrier Qatar then joined oneworld. (And, incidentally, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad partners with American as does Gulf Air.)
I predicted two years ago that British Airways and Qatar would form a joint venture. (My wild speculation about Etihad and airberlin has not borne similar fruit.)
If this announcement were just coming from the Qatar side, it wouldn’t be credible. But IAG chief Willie Walsh confirms it as well.
The two airlines are already alliance members. The stake then must be seen as a way for Qatar to get additional coordination with and traffic from BA. It’s hard to imagine where Qatar routes more traffic through slot-controlled London Heathrow, and especially as they’re growing and serving plenty of routes in Europe. And for those destinations not served directly, BA is already their primary European partner. But BA may send more connecting traffic through Doha rather than Hong Kong as a result.
If there’s a loser in this deal it has to be Willie Walsh, who will now have to deal much more regularly with Qatar CEO Akbar al-Baker.
(HT: Traveling Better)
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