Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia have unveiled a new strategic partnership, described as an “expansive codeshare agreement”. And, according to the carriers, it will significantly expand both airlines’ networks, lounges and loyalty programmes.
The announcement took place at the Arabian Travel Market.
Commencing mid-year, the partnership will give travellers greater access, “unparalleled customer experience” and unique benefits when travelling between Australia and Qatar Airways’ global network. It will provide convenient transit options across Qatar Airways’ Australian gateways and key Virgin Australia hubs, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
“The strategic alliance will provide a critical trade and tourism boost for Australia, while opening a world of new travel opportunities for both airlines’ customers,” says QR.
The partnership agreement was announced at the start of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
QR currently operates daily flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth as well as three weekly flights to Adelaide continuing to Auckland, New Zealand. Thanks to the new codeshare agreement, Qatar Airways’ passengers will be able to travel seamlessly 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.
Qatar Airways’ passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand. Similarly, Virgin Australia customers and members of the airline’s award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme will be able to directly access Qatar Airways’ route network of over 140 worldwide destinations, including the Middle East, Europe and Africa, via its Doha hub. QR serves 54 cities in Europe with over 600 flights per week, offering a huge range of new choices for Virgin Australia customers.
The partnership will 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 unique benefits, depending on tier status, such as complimentary lounge access, complimentary extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage delivery when flying on Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways Privilege Club recently enhanced its programme through its partnership with Avios, significantly expanding accrual and redemption opportunities for its members.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar Airways consistently operated international services to Australia.