Aer Lingus's parent company strikes a deal with Qatar
Aer Lingus's parent company IAG has announced a partnership agreement between British Airways and Qatar which will improve links between the UK, continental Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.
The agreement will allow the airlines to co-operate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible options and improved fares.
The joint business will see the two airlines code-sharing on all non-stop flights operated between the UK and Doha and connecting services to destinations in the UK, continental Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. This will include British Airways' daily direct flights from London Heathrow to Doha.
Willie Walsh, IAG's chief executive (inset), said: "We are delighted to announce this joint business with Qatar Airways, which is one of the world's premier airlines. This agreement will benefit customers by giving them access to more destinations through Qatar Airways' extensive network."
Earlier this year, Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh said the airline will leverage the fact that Qatar Airways now owns 15pc of IAG. Qatar has signalled that it is interested in boosting that stake in IAG even further.
He said it was likely that either Aer Lingus will begin flying to Qatar's capital, Doha, or that Qatar Airways will commence flights to Dublin.
That would intensify competition between IAG and Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad.