QATAR Airways is set to become the missing Qantas link to extra European destinations via the Middle East by forming a formal alliance with the flying kangaroo in the next year.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed in Perth yesterday that the Doha-based airline will talk with Qantas senior executives next week on plans between the two airlines to form a strategic alliance.
He said the formal code sharing arrangement would mean "joint flights" with the QF Qantas flight code being carried by Qatar services with seamless transfers to Australian domestic services.
Mr Al Baker revealed that Qantas had been speaking with his airline "for some time" and the alliance would include Qatar's existing daily service into Melbourne and its new service to Perth, which was launched yesterday.
The news comes as Qantas last month suffered a share market shock when it announced an expected $450 million loss on international services for the past financial year, expected to climb far beyond the $216 million loss in 2010-11.