Both British Airways & Qantas have denied any ill-feeling exists between the airlines after the former announced it was ending a long-standing code-share agreement on flights between London & Australia. This agreement comes to an end on 31st March.
The news follows the announcement by Qantas last year that it had reached agreement with Emirates to code-share on flights between Australia & Europe via Dubai. In the past, Qantas & British had operated a joint service via Singapore which will now be discontinued. Qantas had previously suggested that any of its passengers who didn’t want to fly via Dubai could still fly with the airline on their stand-alone Singapore service and then connect with the British Airways flight – the announcement by the British flag-carrier that this will not be an option would seem to suggest that the two airlines aren’t quite singing from the same hymn-sheet.
For Qantas, whose proposed link-up with Emirates has not yet been approved by the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission (ACCC), the announcement is at best embarrassing and at worst (if the link-up is denied) altogether more serious. The airline has long been losing significant amounts of money on its flights to Europe and the new agreement was designed to both end this and allow the airline to focus more of its attention on the fast growing point-to-point Asian market.
Of course both British Airways & Qantas are part of the One World alliance and, although both airlines claim that they will continue to work together, it is hard to see just what form such co-operation will take.
The news has added relevance as, later this year, Malaysia Airlines joins the One World alliance (sponsored by Qantas ironically) and there have been suggestions that British Airways may decide that their best option is to enter a new code-share arrangement for flights to Australia via Kuala Lumpur. British Airways haven’t flown to KL for several years but routing flights via the Malaysian capital would allow it to free up capacity on flights to Singapore, their current stopping-off point on flights between London & Australia.