Qatar opts to join Oneworld alliance
Qatar Airways is to become the first of the Gulf carriers to be part of a global alliance.
CEO Akbar Al Baker announced in New York that the airline will become part of the Oneworld alliance alongside BA and American Airlines.
It will be the second Middle Eastern carrier to join the alliance as Royal Jordanian is already a member.
It will become the 15th member of the alliance.
Analysts are suggesting that this could raise pressure on the region’s other top players – Emirates and Etihad – which have both resisted the idea of joining alliances.
Indeed Etihad has been forming its own virtual alliance with a series of strategic codeshare and equity investment deals with other airlines.
Emirates has always argued that being part of an alliance would weaken its position in a number of markets
Al Baker made the announcement at a Oneworld member airline meeting in New York and said: “"Alliances are playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry today--and that will continue long into the future. Qatar Airways has carefully reviewed its strategic options and it is very clear that joining Oneworld is by far the best way forward."
Analyst Saj Ahmad commenting on the announcement said: "As the first Arab airline of the "Big Three" to formally join a major global alliance, Qatar Airways' world class and award winning services will be a welcome addition for oneworld.
'With the continued expansion that the airline has mapped out, the introduction of the revolutionary Boeing 787-8, Qatar Airways will leverage its unique position as a true global player and provide countless gateways for oneworld partners and we're going to see a greater emphasis on Doha capturing even more traffic - especially as Qatar Airways gears up to move to the New Doha International Airport next summer.
'Across Europe, Qatar Airways will benefit from greater access and codeshares with British Airways to London Heathrow - a vital sector for Qatar Airways, as well as via Iberia across the EU as well as its Latin American connections.
'All in all, Qatar Airways' growth will be limited only by its planning. For the oneworld alliance, to get a coup of this size and a player of this magnitude is no easy feat. But they are to be commended for being the first alliance that has managed to successfully persuade one o the big three Arabian airlines to effectively break ranks with the organic-growth-only policy and connect with key influential airlines that include Cathay Pacific, Qantas, BA, American Airlines, Finnair and even Arab neighbour in Royal Jordanian Airlines.
'This is a great move for Qatar Airways and Akbar Al Baker will ensure that everyone knows about it!'