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Saturday, July 24, 2021

BA and Qatar Airways announce flight-sharing deal

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A British Airways Boeing 787 landing at Heathrow
A British Airways Boeing 787 landing at Heathrow

British Airways (BA) and Qatar Airways have signed a deal that will see the two airlines code-sharing on all direct flights to the UK.

This means that both carriers will sell tickets for the same flights between the UK and Doha starting Oct. 30. They will also share the profits.

Additionally, the airlines will code-share on connecting services to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa not operated by British Airways from London.

The agreement further cements the close relationship between the two airlines, following Qatar Airways’ move to increase its stake in BA parent company IAG to 20 percent in August.

The two companies have become increasingly intertwined since BA helped Qatar Airways join the airline alliance oneworld in 2013.

What it means for passengers

The announcement of the new business deal comes only four months after BA announced a new non-stop service from London to Doha.

Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport

At the time, many heralded this as the introduction of competition on the popular route. But the new code-sharing deal means that the airlines no longer have an incentive to cut prices to compete for customers.

Pricing aside, however, there are some benefits for customers, including giving them a more “seamless” travel experience.

For example, on codeshares, passengers can “book through” rather than having to stop at one destination, collect their bags and check in again at departures for their onward flight on a different airline.

What the airlines say

Code-share agreements benefit airlines by allowing them to share routes, and therefore to serve more destinations without needing to add more aircraft.

For its part, Qatar Airways said in a statement that the move would benefit customers because it would offer “a wider choice of flights, an enhanced network, greater choice of fares and superior benefits for members of their frequent flyer programs.”

For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

Meanwhile, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said that the agreement would allow BA to provide its passengers with “easier journeys with better aligned schedules,” along with more frequent flights and improved transfer times.

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