Australia’s Qantas announced on Tuesday plans of enhancing Joint Services Agreement (JSA) with British Airways. Enhancements will strengthen their Singapore hub and offer better services on flights between London Heathrow and Australia.

Qantas and British Airways are set to develop their long-running Joint Services Agreement (JSA). The two airlines aim to strengthen their Singapore hub and offer better products and services to passengers booking flights between London Heathrow and Australia. The move is seen as a part of the Qantas Group’s plan to create a competitive global airline business.

Qantas will maintain its Airbus A380 operations from Melbourneand Sydney to London via Singapore. The carrier also proposes to construct a new premium lounge at Singapore’s Changi International Airport. On the other hand, UK’s flag carrier, British Airways will upgrade its London to Sydney (via Singapore) operations from a Boeing 777 to Boeing 747.

These developments will consolidate Singapore’s standing as the principal hub in the relationship, reinforcing the two airlines’ competitive position in the Asia-Pacific region. Both airlines are known to be premier carriers. Cheap flight tickets may not be their forte, but the carriers still enjoy popularity among travellers for offering quality on-board services.

Under the updated Joint Services Agreement, Qantas will offer flights on Australia – Bangkok and Australia – Hong Kong routes, while British Airways will provide services on Bangkok – London and Hong Kong – London routes. This move is aimed at maximising the carrier’s respective operational strengths and will come into effect from 2012 beginning. BA also plans to augment the frequency of London – Hong Kong flights from 14 per week to 17 per week.

Australia’s Qantas will discontinue its Bangkok – London and Hong Kong – London routes and BA will terminate Bangkok-Sydney operations in favour of Qantas operating flights on the route. This will ease early retirement of Qantas’ four Boeing 747 aircrafts.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce remarked that the time was right to restructure the JSA between British and Qantas Airways.

“Strengthening our relationship with British Airways is an important element of our new strategy for Qantas International,” Mr Joyce said in the company’s press release that was posted on the website on Tuesday.

“Singapore will become the focal point of the JSA relationship, with daily Qantas A380 services from Melbourne and Sydney and onward to London, increased British Airways capacity and a new premium lounge.

“The new approach is a smarter use of both airlines’ resources that will enhance our competitive position in Asia and in the Australia – Europe market.

“Regardless of which airline is operating flights between Australia and the United Kingdom, we are focused on delivering a smooth and enjoyable flying experience for passengers. Restructuring the JSA will put us on the front foot in the fiercely competitive Australia – UK air travel market,” Mr Joyce further elaborated.

Qantas Announces New Lounges and Fleet Upgrades

Qantas also announced that it is going to invest almost $400 million in new international lounges, in-flight entertainment and aircraft refurbishment to enhance travellers’ experience.

“Qantas will construct a new First Lounge and Business Lounge in Los Angeles, three times the size of the current space, as well as new First Lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong,” Mr Alan Joyce was quoted in the company’s press release.

Mr Joyce stated that the introduction of the A380 in 2008 brought new levels of customer satisfaction and now the airline aims to make sure that consistent superiority is maintained across the fleet and lounge network.

“In February last year, Qantas announced a $250 million upgrade for nine Boeing 747-400s to meet the changing demands of the airline’s international customers. The first reconfigured B747 will commence services between Brisbane and Los Angeles in October, operating three return services per week,” he said.

The Qantas Group additionally launched a new low-cost airline, Jetstar Japan, in partnership with Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi. The airline is aimed at Japanese market and will serve travellers who seek cheap flight tickets.

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