International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, has reportedly held talks with Qatar Airways of a partnership focused on Asia.
According to a report by London’s Financial Times, IAG was in discussions with three airlines, including Qatar’s flag carrier, to fill the gap left by British Airways’ now defunct deal with Qantas. British Airways and Qantas confirmed on Thursday that they were terminating their joint venture on routes between the UK and Australia in March, after the Australian carrier announced plans for a partnership with Emirates Airline.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said the joint venture but added that Asia was a “key focus” for IAG which was “talking to a number of airlines” about alternative options. One person familiar with IAG told the FT that IAG had held discussions with Qatar Airways about the possibility of a partnership focused on Asia, where air travel in countries such as China is growing faster than in Europe and the US.
Arabian Business contacted Qatar Airways for comment but did not receive a reply prior to publication. As part of the new Emirates deal, Qantas will replace Singapore with Dubai as its hub for European flights from March 2013. Walsh added: “Qantas has made it clear that its international performance has been weak and the termination of the joint business won’t have any negative impact on IAG’s financial targets.”
The joint business was established in 1995 to enable close commercial cooperation on British Airways and Qantas’ services between the UK and Australia. The airlines will continue to work together as part of the oneworld alliance and through bilateral codeshares, a statement said.
source: Arabian Business
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