British Airways and Cathay Pacific are taking aim at the Qantas-Emirates alliance and wooing business travellers with new codeshare partnerships to Australia's international gateway airports.
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns will see BA codes on Cathay Pacific flights starting 31 March, to connect to British Airways' two Hong Kong-London flights.
The new Cathay codeshares will replace the long-standing Qantas-BA joint venture partnership, which comes to an end as the Qantas-Emirates alliance begins. It's high stakes on the Kangaroo Route as airlines adjust to the new landscape as the Red Roo starts hopping via Dubai instead of Singapore.
Business travellers heading to London via Hong Kong can already pick up Cathay Pacific's own flights all the way to the UK, but the option of two daily BA flights during busy periods adds another way to accrue those all-important Qantas Frequent Flyer points.
In terms of timing and convenience, those two British Airways flights leave within half an hour of each other. When we checked for mid-May options, BA26 leaves at 2315 with BA28 following at 2345.
Depending on the flight you pick from Australia to Hong Kong, you might find yourself with a relatively long layover in Hong Kong.
Of course, you could also connect to one of Cathay's five daily flights between Hong Kong and London.
The extra codeshare options are especially welcome news for business travellers who travel premium economy, since Cathay Pacific's premium economy is available on Australian routes — yet there's no premium economy on Emirates.
Frequent flyers holding a Qantas Gold (oneworld Sapphire) card or better will also appreciate the chance to transit in Hong Kong, where Cathay's excellent set of lounges make even a long layover productive or relaxing — significantly better than the current set of oneworld lounges in Singapore.
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About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.