Qatar Airways reveals next stage in its cosying-up strategy with British Airways

Oliver Gill
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IAG chief executive Willie Walsh hailed the "joint business" agreement (Source: Getty)

Qatar Airways has deepened ties with the owner of British Airways after a codeshare agreement was announced by the two carriers.

The news comes in the wake of Qatar Airways upping its stake in International Airlines Group (IAG) in August to 20 per cent – a move that made it IAG's largest single shareholder.

Read more: Qatar Airways just bumped up its stake in the owner of British Airways

The codeshare starts on 30 October and gives both airlines the ability to offer tickets on each others' flights.

“We are delighted to announce this joint business with Qatar Airways which is one of the world's premier airlines.

"This agreement will benefit customers by giving them access to more destinations through Qatar Airways’ extensive network. It will also allow us to provide easier journeys with better aligned schedules, more frequencies and improved flight transfers," said IAG boss Willie Walsh.

Read more: Qatar Airways ups stake in BA owner IAG

It is understood that Qatar Airways sees inorganic growth as one way of making up ground against competitor Emirates.

Nevertheless, the airline has maintained that its interest in IAG is from an investment investment perspective rather actively influencing operations. In any case, EU foreign ownership rules would disallow Qatar Airways ownership of more than a 49.9 per cent stake.

Akbar Al Baker was as gushing as Walsh when reflecting on the announcement.

"This partnership brings together two world-class airlines to provide an enhanced operation for our passengers with increased daily flights between London and Doha, greater choice of flight schedules, wider range of fares and improved members benefits. Today’s announcement reinforces our already established relationship with IAG," he said.