Monday, May 05, 2014

Qatar Airlines Close to Signing Revenue-Sharing Pact With British Airways; Agreement Set to Mirror Tie-Ups Between Other Gulf Airlines And Legacy Carriers

The Wall Street Journal

By Rory Jones

May 5, 2014 7:51 a.m. ET

DUBAI—Qatar Airways is "close" to concluding a revenue-sharing agreement with British Airways that would deepen relations between the two Oneworld allies and mirror tie-ups between other Gulf airlines and legacy carriers.

Qatar Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the two airlines were in talks to share revenues on routes in a similar deal to one struck recently with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. Qatar previously flew twice daily to Hong Kong but has now withdrawn one of those flights and has instead entered into a joint venture that sees Cathay operating an Airbus Group NV A330 aircraft on the route, Mr. Al Baker told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

"We are talking to BA and we are very close to concluding," Mr. Al Baker said. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, the parent company of British Airways, declined to comment. Qatar currently flies six daily flights into the U.K., while British Airways operates daily to Doha, Mr. Al Baker added.

Emirates Airline last year entered into a similar revenue-sharing strategic partnership with Qantas Airways Ltd.,  agreeing to align ticket prices and flight schedules from Australia to Europe via Dubai. Etihad Airways is also in talks with Air France-KLM to form a partnership where the carriers would divide up the revenues on designated routes between Europe and Abu Dhabi. Etihad has also bought minority stakes in carriers in Europe.

Qatar became the only Gulf carrier to join one of the three global alliances when it joined Oneworld in October last year, a grouping of airlines that includes British Airways and Qantas.