Qantas wasted no time axing a code-share agreement with Etihad after Virgin Blue announced a major alliance with the Abu Dhabi-based airline.Qantas had been codesharing flights between Australia and Abu Dhabi, providing the Middle Eastern carrier with the opportunity to feed passengers onto Qantas’ domestic network. Etihad has similarly been able to take passengers onwards to other of its flights to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Last week Virgin Blue and Etihad announced a deal in which all flights on both carriers would be code-shared allowing seamless travel across both airlines’ networks, subject to regulatory sign-off in each country, where applicable. The deal by default makes Virgin Blue an international carrier with some 65 offshore cities joining its route map. At the same time it gives Etihad the ability to feed travellers from its network to every major Australian city.
That deal dwarfs the arrangement between Etihad and Qantas in both complexity and benefit. AviationRecord.com understands most travellers benefiting from the arrangement were taking Qantas domestic flights, with little benefit to Etihad. A limited number of travellers fly to Abu Dhabi from Australia without onward connections.
Qantas gave notice of terminating the agreement the same day the Virgin Blue deal was announced. It now has no service to the Middle East other than a OneWorld arrangement with Royal Jordanian.