Qantas and British Airways will abandon their joint venture partnership next year as Qantas moves towards a similar but more expansive global arrangement with Emirates.
The Aussie and British national flag-carriers will go their own way as of March 31, 2013, marking the end of an almost 15 year collaboration.
However, Qantas and BA will continue to work together as part of the oneworld alliance and through bilateral codeshares.
"Over the past 17 years the joint business with British Airways has been central to the Qantas network" said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, announcing the news at a press conference in Sydney this morning.
"Our relationship with British Airways is an important part of the Qantas story. However, global operating conditions have changed and partnership with Emirates is the right strategy for Qantas."
Joyce said that he and Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways parent International Airlines Group, "have agreed that the time is right to wind up the Joint Services Agreement. We both value the relationship very highly and our two airlines will continue to work together."
“We’re ending the joint business on amicable terms and support Qantas’ decision to work with Emirates" IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said in a statement issued to the media. "The world has changed since 1995 when the joint business started."
"This is a small part of our overall network and this move fits in with changes in our global strategy. Asia has become a key market focus for IAG and we’re talking to a number of airlines about alternative options for us."
Qantas says it will contact any customers due to travel after 31 March 2013 whose bookings may be affected by changes to the joint business, to discuss alternative travel options.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.