Qatar Airways stated (09-Sep-2013) it would become a full member of oneworld with effect from 30-Oct-2013. Qatar Airways is the only one of the “Gulf Big Three” carriers slated to join any of the global airline alliances. It received clearance to join oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness, conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring Qatar Airways’ entry into the alliance, with oneworld’s central team. Qatar Airways completes its oneworld implementation programme just one year after receiving its invitation to join in Oct-2012. This will make its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance’s history. Normally it takes around 18 months for any airline to be readied to enter any alliance. Qatar Airways’ addition to oneworld will come shortly before the airline moves into its new home base, Hamad International Airport, which has been designed to strengthen Doha’s position as a premium global hub, with an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers p/a. From then, the 3 million members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty programme will gain frequent flyer privileges when they fly with other oneworld member airlines. From 30-Oct-2013, Privilege Club Platinum and Gold members will be able to access 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines. More than 20 of its destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to the oneworld map. Qatar Airways becomes the 13th full member of the oneworld, joining: airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and some 30 affiliated airlines. The alliance is also pending the arrival of SriLankan Airlines next year and TAM is also set to join, as well as other members of the LATAM group not already in oneworld. In addition, US Airways proposes to switch from Star to oneworld as part of its planned merger with American Airlines, subject to necessary approvals. With Qatar Airways and the other airlines lining up to join, oneworld will serve almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures; handle 480 million passengers p/a on a combined fleet of almost 3,500 aircraft; and generate US140 billion annual revenues. [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]
Qatar Airways to join oneworld on 30-Oct-2013
You may also be interested in the following articles...
British Airways-Qatar Airways form Europe's first Gulf airline JV, showing some oneworld flexibility
British Airways and Qatar Airways are to commence a revenue-sharing joint venture from 30-Oct-2016. Even before Qatar Airways took 20% of the equity of BA parent group IAG, the JV was expected – and perhaps due earlier. The agreement includes the UK, continental Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa – essentially all regions but the Americas. Some specifics and regulatory matters are to be worked through, and Iberia is excluded but presumably will be added.
oneworld has always been a flexible congregation of bilateral relationships, but nowhere has this been better exemplified than with Qatar Airways' membership of oneworld and eg Qantas' deep partnership with Emirates. The BA-QR JV is the first between a European airline and a Gulf airline. Compared to AF-KLM and Lufthansa, BA/IAG have been more open towards Gulf airlines, a result of management but also pragmatism: BA's hub at London Heathrow is capacity constrained and BA typically carries a majority of O&D passengers.
Qatar Airways turning 20 - and hoping for a joint venture with American Airlines
Qatar Airways turns 20 in 2017. The once tiny regional airline has become a global powerhouse and is reshaping oneworld, the alliance to which it belongs. Qatar has stakes in IAG and LATAM, and Qatar Airways CEO H.E. Akbar Al Baker has told CAPA that in the near future he expects Qatar to make acquisitions in two additional airlines, aside from Meridiana. He said the additional airlines would be successful airlines, as "We are not going to collect crap".
Strategic partnerships without equity are important; Mr Al Baker hopes American Airlines will cease its partnership with Etihad Airways and work solely with Qatar Airways, even forging a multilateral JV anchored around American, British Airways/IAG and Qatar. Qatar is heading towards a fleet of 250 aircraft in 2-2.5 years' time. Mr Al Baker expects recently ordered 787-9s to replace 787-8s, while an LoI for 737 MAX 8s will be to replace Qatar's A320s and grow that fleet.