Many travellers would say it’s about time.
Today both Doha-based Qatar Airways and our own British Airways (BA) have announced they will work together and co-operate on schedules via their respective hub airports.
It’s a way in which Qatar Airways (which owns 20 per cent of IAG) can develop the number of transfer passengers using Doha. It will enable it to better compete with local rivals Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Emirates of Dubai.
In turn BA hopes that more passengers will be transferring at London Heathrow rather than use rival hubs elsewhere.
Qatar Airways says that both carriers will be sharing revenue only on the London-Doha sector.
Both Oneworld carriers talk about providing passengers with “seamless” service and better connectivity to more than 70 destinations.
But one important point to note is that these destinations will not be in either Australia or New Zealand. That is a pity seeing that Qatar Airways serves several destinations in Australia (and plans to start service to Auckland New Zealand in 2017) whereas BA serves only Sydney.
So, initially at least, the co-operation covers points in the UK, Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said he was “delighted” with the new development.
Until more details are known it is difficult to draw meaningful conclusions.
But for travellers the scheduling, connecting opportunities, frequent flyer benefits and so on must represent good news.
On the downside will Qatar Airways’ continue to maintain its keen pricing under this new arrangement?
With so many new connections available through Doha does it mean that BA will no longer need to develop new direct long-haul routes to Africa, Asia and the Middle East?
Business Traveller will bring you further news on scheduling and pricing when both airlines make this information available.