Qatar Airways is teaming up with Virgin Australia in a surprise partnership that will include codeshares and loyalty benefits.
The agreement will commence later this year and promises to open new travel opportunities for passengers of both airlines.
Oneworld alliance member Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne (MEL), Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE) and Perth (PER), as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide (ADL) that continue to Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand.
Under the new codeshare agreement, Qatar Airways’ passengers will be able to connect to 35 points on Virgin Australia’s domestic network, including destinations such as Cairns, Gold Coast, Alice Springs and Broome.
Qatar Airways’ passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand. Similarly, Virgin Australia customers will be able to access the Gulf carrier’s route network of more than 140 worldwide destinations.
“We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Australia and this agreement with Virgin Australia comes at a time when it is needed the most,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said.
“This partnership will give Australian passengers access to the world that they have so acutely missed these past two years, to be able to reconnect with family and friends, and keep the wheels of trade moving.”
Virgin Australia currently has a partnership with Etihad Airways, which will continue despite the new alliance with Qatar Airways. Qantas and Emirates also have a Middle East-Australia partnership, despite Qantas and Qatar Airways both being members of the oneworld alliance.