Today's move follows Qatar's announcement in August that it was increasing its stake in IAG – which owns Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling – to 20%, capitalising on falling share prices after the Brexit decision in June.
The airlines are now set to code-share, offering tickets under both's flight codes for all non-stop flights operating between the UK and Doha, as well as connecting services to destination in Britain, continental Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The arrangement should strengthen the IAG-led oneworld airline alliance, with the pair claiming that passengers will enjoy a wider choice of flights and fares, as well as additional perks.
IAG's chief executive, Dubliner Willie Walsh, said he was "delighted" with the development:
“This agreement will benefit customers by giving them access to more destinations through Qatar Airways’ extensive network.
"It will also allow us to provide easier journeys with better aligned schedules, more frequencies and improved flight transfers.”
IAG purchased Aer Lingus for €1.5bn in August 2015, with the State getting a €335 million windfall for its 25.1% stake in the business. Virgin boss Richard Branson later commented that it was "a sad day, I think, when Aer Lingus lost its independence" and bemoaned decreasing competition in the industry in general.