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End of cheap deals? Qatar Airways and British Airways sign Joint Business Agreement

Qatar Airways and British Airways unveiled a ‘joint business agreement’ yesterday covering flights between the UK and Doha.

What this means, in simple terms, is that all revenue generated from Qatar and BA services to Doha is put into a big pile and then shared out between them according to a pre-agreed formula.

British Airways and Finnair have a similar deal with Japan Airlines covering Europe to Japan routes, and of course there is the massive AA / BA / Iberia / Finnair deal covering flights to North America.

All Qatar Airways flights from the UK will carry a British Airways flight code, and vice versa, from 30th October.

Is this good for customers?

Qatar Airways said yesterday:

“The joint business will benefit customers by offering a wider choice of flights, an enhanced network, greater choice of fares and superior benefits for members of their frequent flyer programmes.”

However, ask yourself this question.  If Tesco and Sainsbury agreed to match their prices on every single product and co-ordinate store openings so that they no longer competed directly with each other for the same customer, would this be a good thing?

Qatar 350

Does this mean the end of Qatar Airways sale deals from the UK?

Good question.  It certainly won’t have any impact on Qatar Airways pricing from the rest of Europe.

However, any Qatar Airways deal from the UK will now have to be available across British Airways services too.

Let’s say that Qatar Airways offers a £1,750 fare from the UK to Sydney.  You would be able to book this, for the same price, using British Airways to get to Doha before you switch to an onwards Qatar Airways flight.  The yield on this flight will be very low for BA although, due to revenue pooling, it doesn’t actually matter to BA whether you are on a BA or Qatar Airways aircraft.

Of course, you would have to be pretty mad to voluntarily fly British Airways in Business or First Class to Doha when a Qatar Airways alternative is available …..

As the State of Qatar is now the biggest shareholder in International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, this deal is not a surprise.

The best Qatar Airways sale deals were always out of continental Europe anyway, so hopefully nothing will change here.

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  1. This joint business agreement explains some of the changes in this:

    “Can BA win enough business from Qatar’s six daily London services to fill an overnight Doha service?”

    Doesn’t really matter now!

  2. So, does that mean that flying QR metal on a BA flight code qualify as one of the four flights one has to fly on BA each year to maintain Gold?

  3. You can if you credit the flight to BAEC

  4. Qatar Airways operates a wholly superior business class to British Airways. Indeed the Qatar product on the 787 and A380 in more akin to British Airways First Class. Further, Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways has announced that Qatar’s business class is to be further enhanced with the arrival of a new Super Business Class being rolled out commencing in November. This will leave BA’s business class looking even more inadequate which will make it harder for BA to fill their aircraft on the Doha route. As Doha is principally a hub airport with Qatar providing the onward flights to destinations in Asia, Australia and elsewhere in Middle East, Akbar Al Baker may have entered into this agreement purely to boost passenger numbers on those onward flights by increasing capacity on the LHR DOH leg by being able to fly people on BA aircraft. Meanwhile the deal may be attractive to BA simply because it enables them to operate with higher loads on this route. I don’t necessarily think we will see pricing increase to most destinations served by Qatar particularly with strong competition from Etihad, Emirates and Turkish. There is more risk for passengers just travelling between London and Doha with no onward connection.

  5. Lewis Watson says:

    Wish they just go the whole way buy ba out. Flew Qatar last year and the experience in economy is better than a lot of airlines business class.

  6. Lewis Watson says:

    EDI DOH PER KTA (last leg was a code share). First leg a380 out of Edinburgh in economy. Apart from the seat superior to club every way. Great service from crew, constant top ups on drinks, club kitchen style thing in galley for economy passengers, electricity at every seat, great food actual glasses and plates, e times as much stuff on the on board entertainment as ba.

  7. ~£150 of Air Passenger Duty, and the expensive Heathrow fees are two culprits of relatively high J fares compared to ex-EU.

    What gets my goat is there is no justification for charging premium flyers more APD. The tax is (was) to offset environmental costs. The amount of CO2 produced by my presence on the plane is directly proportional to my weight, nothing else. I suppose they justify it as a higher tax rate. Then why don’t they just say it is 10%, so F, pays more than J, which pays more than Y?

    That it discourages tourism is bad for the economy, and probably costs more in negative balance of trade than the £3b it contributes to the Treasury.

  8. I have Qatar flights booked for December… Im assuming I will still be on Qatar metal as I booked these in April…?