British Airways and Qatar Airways are seeking to expand their joint venture beyond routes between Australia, Europe and the UK to cover a host of additional services, in particular routes accessed via connections from the two carriers’ flights between London and Doha.
The two oneworld members last year gained regulatory approval to coordinate on schedules, pricing, sales and marketing to connect passengers between Australia and Europe. Under the JV, passengers connect to Australia via Doha (DOH).
Now the carriers want to make the JV more expansive, enabling passengers to access “more destinations on [each carrier’s] respective networks,” the airlines said in a joint statement, adding: “The proposed expansion will give customers enhanced access from Europe to popular destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australasia, such as Singapore (SIN), Sydney (SYD), Colombo (CMB) and Nairobi (NBO). It will also improve access to destinations across Europe such as Amsterdam (AMS), Madrid (MAD) or Dublin (DUB).”
The announcement of the planned expansion of the JV comes after British Airways last week relaunched daily Boeing 777-200ER service between London Gatwick (LGW) and DOH. The two carriers will operate a combined 6X-daily service between London and DOH this winter, including 5X-daily Heathrow (LHR)-DOH flights.
“Expanding our joint business with our strategic airline partner, British Airways, is an important milestone in our ambition of providing customers access to the most extensive route network and unrivalled product,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said.
BA CEO Sean Doyle added: “The launch of our first flight from Gatwick to Doha was an important milestone in our existing joint business with Qatar Airways. The proposed expansion of the joint business will be great news for customers, offering them access to more destinations across the world with seamless connections. We know customers are always looking for more options to connect onto popular holiday hotspots such as the Maldives (MLE) and Seychelles (SEZ), and this expansion will allow them to do just that.”
The airlines said they expect relevant regulatory approvals to be granted in the first half of 2022.
Qatar Airways said its international network, which it has been gradually rebuilding, now extends to 140 destinations.