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.
Brexit follow-up Part 3: Gulf airlines, Turkish lose UK ally in M/E talks as protectionism spreads
The Brexit referendum produced a vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU, although this process has not yet been formally invoked. In the scope of aviation, one outcome is the potential loss of the UK in shaping air service agreement negotiations. The UK has been a liberalising voice, one that often counterbalanced more protectionist views from France and Germany. The UK is often able to galvanise the smaller EU states too.
The EU now has mandates to negotiate open skies with states, including the UAE, Qatar, Turkey and the ASEAN bloc. The UAE and Qatar, home to the three Gulf network airlines, are expected to produce the most contentious negotiations. France and Germany will surely takes cues from Air France and Lufthansa to impede Gulf growth. In this light there are questions about whether the talks are genuinely motivated, or merely designed to draw out the discussion and thereby not produce any additional traffic rights while under negotiation.
What Air France and Lufthansa need is a real, lasting solution, rather than persevering Canute-like with stonewalling. Although a partnership seems logical, they may have waited too long. The Gulf airlines have found that they can succeed on their own.