BA seeks new Asia tie-in as Qantas quits

Struggling Australian flag carrier Qantas yesterday called time on a 17-year alliance with British Airways and signed a 10-year deal to co-operate with Emirates.

BA said it will seek a new partner on flights to Asia. Under the alliance, Qantas will move its hub for European flights to Dubai, coordinate with Emirates on ticket prices and scheduling and apply a benefit-sharing model starting in April 2013.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of BA's parent company International Airlines Group, said: "We're ending the joint business on amicable terms and support Qantas's decision to work with Emirates. 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."

The Emirates deal will see Qantas shift its stop-off point for London- Sydney and London-Melbourne flights from Singapore to Dubai. Revenue-sharing agreements are the strongest alliances between airlines short of taking equity stakes in each other. No shares are changing hands in the deals. Qantas recently reported its first annual loss since it floated in 1995.