Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia have today unveiled a new strategic partnership that will significantly expand both airlines’ networks, lounges and loyalty programmes.
Qatar Airways and Virgin Austraila together – Image, Qatar Airways.
The new agreement will commence mid-year, giving passengers a tighter customer experience and unique benefits when travelling between Australia and Qatar Airways’ global network, with convenient transit options across Qatar Airways’ Australian gateways and key Virgin Australia hubs, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
The partnership agreement was announced at the start of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide continuing into Auckland, New Zealand. Passengers can connect to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network, including key popular Australian tourist destinations, including Cairns, Gold Coast, Alice Springs and Broome, on a single booking. You will also be able to connect to international connections including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand.
Similarly, Virgin Australia customers and members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme will be able to directly access Qatar Airways’ route network of over 140 worldwide destinations, via Hamad International in Doha.
Elite Membership Benefits too
The strategic partnership will also include reciprocal loyalty benefits allowing Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn and redeem Avios when flying on Virgin Australia, with similar benefits for Velocity members when travelling on Qatar Airways’ services.
Privilege Club and Velocity members will also enjoy a wide range of other benefits, depending on status tier, such as complimentary lounge access, complimentary extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage delivery when flying respectively on Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker said:
“We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Australia and this agreement with Virgin Australia comes at a time when it is needed the most. This partnership will give Australian passengers access to the world that they have so acutely missed these past two years, to be able to reconnect with family and friends, and keep the wheels of trade moving. We hope many of them will stopover in Doha to enjoy the wonderful tourism industry that Qatar has to offer. For those travelling farther afield, they will benefit from the award-winning facilities of our hub, Hamad International Airport, enabling their onward journey. It also opens up the beautiful, cosmopolitan nation of Australia to our passengers flying in on Qatar Airways flights, after such a long, difficult time.”
Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka said:
“Today is more great news for Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer members who are hungry to travel internationally. We are incredibly focused on creating great travel experiences and our new partnership with Qatar Airways will significantly expand Virgin Australia’s footprint into the Middle East, Europe and Africa, offering hundreds more ways our guests can seamlessly see the world. Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways are both known for their award-winning service and joining forces means that together we are able to provide an incredible experience when travelling between Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and beyond. Qatar Airways has been a very important partner to Australia during the pandemic, maintaining vital connectivity to the world in difficult circumstances. We are proud to have Qatar Airways join the Virgin Australia family and we look forward to welcoming their guests onboard Virgin Australia services mid-year.”
Umm. Isn’t there a oneworld member airline in Australia already?
Well, to say it’s an interesting move would be an understatement, given that there is a oneworld airline already in Australia – Qantas.
It seems that Qatar Airways is interested in forging its own friends outside an alliance – something that isn’t too uncommon in the aviation world.
However, to do it on a partner’s doorstep – that’s an uncommon move.
It’ll be interesting to see how this develops, as well as the reaction of Qantas over the short to medium term.
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