BA And Qatar JV Receives Approval For Some Australia Routes

British Airways and Qatar Airways are hoping for more custom on select Australian routes after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved their joint venture to operate to Four Australian cities earlier this week. The airlines operated in a joint venture before submitting their latest application. However, Australia was not one of the countries listed. The airlines will be allowed to start services in the cities from 29th May.

British Airways take-off
British Airways’ joint venture with Qatar Airways has been approved by the ACCC to operate in Australia. Photo: Getty Images

The ACCC grants approval for Australian expansion

The ACCC has approved an application for British Airways and Qatar Airways to operate a joint venture to four Australian cities. The two airlines submitted their application in January 2020, hoping for the opportunity to ameliorate their customer service on these routes.

At that time, the airlines sought approval to run services between London and Doha, Manchester and Doha and Edinburgh and Doha. BA and Qatar asked the ACCC for permission to operated Beyond and Behind routes (B&B routes) to the following cities:

  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Perth.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the ACCC had accepted the proposal.

The airlines will be allowed to operate to Australia on routes through Doha. Photo: Great Circle Mapper

What impact will the Australian expansion have?

British Airways and Qatar Airways will be allowed to participate in the joint venture to Australia from 29th May. The agreement from the ACCC is active for the next five years. During that time, both airlines hope the venture will bring many customer benefits. In its proposal to the ACCC, the joint venture claimed: “the co-ordination will likely result in a number of benefits to the public.” That’s because the agreement is much more than a codeshare.

On its website, British Airways says:

“British Airways and Qatar Airways have teamed up to provide you with an enhanced network which offers you more flight choices and better connections when traveling between the UK, Doha, and beyond. This will help make your travel experience easier and more rewarding.”

Qatar Airways Flying
Both airlines will be able to offer a more seamless process. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying

This new regulation allows the airlines to coordinate their schedules, pricing, and marketing. The joint venture also said that passengers would profit from greater flexibility on connecting flights, a seamless booking process, and access to both airlines’ frequent flyer points systems.

Up until now, both Qatar and British Airways have had an agreement to cooperate in 80 cities worldwide. However, Australian routes were not part of this.

Could the coronavirus pandemic affect plans?

Qatar Airways and BA submitted their proposal in January this year, a few months ahead of the global imposition of travel restrictions due to coronavirus. Since then, there has been some concern that the return to normal for the industry could be slow.

British Airways cabin service
It may take a while for the airline industry to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. Photo: British Airways

If that happens, then the two carriers could lose out on many years of success on this venture. In 2019 alone, over 670,000 UK travelers visited Australia. In the coming years, that number is likely to be a lot less.

Fortunately, this new agreement will not expire until 2025, so there are many good years ahead for these two airlines. That said, the ACCC will be keeping a close eye on travel developments. It says that it will reconsider its verdict based on fluctuations in demand in the years preceding expiration.

Will you be making the most of these new Australian routes? Let us know in the comments.