By Andy Sambidge
IAG chief Willie Walsh 'welcomes' move; says on look out for new partner in Asia
The parent company of British Airways says it is not worried by the decision of Qantas to forge a new partnership with Dubai's Emirates Airline at the expense of the UK carrier.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, said: “We’re ending the joint business on amicable terms and support Qantas’ 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."
British Airways and Qantas said on Thursday that they have agreed to terminate their joint business from March 31, 2013 following the Australian carrier's announcement of its new deal with Emirates.
As part of the Emirates deal, Qantas will replace Singapore with Dubai as its hub for European flights from March 2013.
Walsh 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.”
The joint business was established in 1995 to enable close commercial cooperation on British Airways and Qantas’ services between the UK and Australia.
The airlines will continue to work together as part of the oneworld alliance and through bilateral codeshares, a statement said.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said: “Over the past 17 years the joint business with British Airways has been central to the Qantas network.
“However, global operating conditions have changed and partnership with Emirates is the right strategy for Qantas.”
British Airways said it will contact any customers due to travel after March 31, 2013, whose bookings may be affected by changes to the joint business, to discuss alternative travel options.