BA eyes Asian carriers as it ditches Qantas

BRITISH Airways has ditched its long-running partnership with carrier Qantas to stop it from affecting International Airline Group’s (IAG) balance sheet, it is understood.

A source familiar with the situation suggested that Qantas’ recent financial struggles were the reason for IAG’s wholly-owned subsidiary British Airways to leave the 17-year partnership.

The joint business between British Airways and Qantas will terminated on 31 March next year.

British Airways is in talks with a number of Asian carriers about launching a new partnership, but it declined to give exact details.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said yesterday that the Qantas partnership was a small part of the overall network, and Asia was now a key market for the group.

He 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.”

Meanwhile, Qantas has joined a 10-year partnership with Middle Eastern airline Emirates in a move to shore up its loss-making international business.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline remained committed to reaching break-even in its international business in the 2015 financial year.

Qantas’ share price closed up 6.67 per cent yesterday.