Qatar Airways (Doha) will become a full member of oneworld® on October 30, 2013, adding one of the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the world’s leading quality airline alliance, according to the airline and the alliance.
One of just seven carriers worldwide rated five-star by the Skytrax airline quality agency and the organization’s Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012 and runner-up 2013, Qatar Airways is the only one of the “Gulf Big Three” carriers slated to join any of the global airline alliances.
Qatar Airways received clearance to board 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 program just one year after receiving its invitation to join, announced at a press conference in the alliance’s New York home in October 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 a year.
From its first flights on October 30, Qatar Airways will offer oneworld’s full range of services and benefits.
Qatar Airways is already participating in Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and various airlines that are not part of the alliance. When it becomes part of oneworld, Qatar Airways’ network – serving 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia – will be covered by the full and extensive range of oneworld fare and sales products.
More than 20 of its destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to the oneworld map. More significantly, Qatar Airways will substantially strengthen the alliance’s customer offering by providing superior routing alternatives across many hundreds of city pairs. For example, passengers flying between Asia and Southern Europe or between Asia and Africa will now have convenient one-stop connections not previously available within the oneworld network.
Its implementation, making oneworld the leading alliance in the Middle East region, comes as the group undergoes the biggest expansion in its history with:
• The addition of Malaysia Airlines, one of this industry’s most frequent award winners, six months ago, further strengthening oneworld’s position in South East Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
• The switch in the second quarter of next year to oneworld from the Star Alliance by TAM, the leading airline in Latin America’s leading economy, Brazil, along with its Paraguayan affiliate, following the addition to oneworld on 1 October 2013 of the newest member of the LAN group, LAN Colombia, solidifying oneworld’s position as the leading alliance in Latin America.
• The introduction early next year of SriLankan Airlines, as the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any global alliance, which, with Qatar Airways, will make oneworld the leading alliance in the region.
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.
• Carry 480 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of almost 3,500 aircraft.
• Generate US$ 140 billion annual revenues
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “In Qatar Airways’ relatively short history, we have quickly established a reputation for innovation, quality and excellence in everything we do. We are pleased to build on that by becoming the only major airline from the Gulf to date to be joining any of the global airline alliances. We are proud to entering the best of them, in oneworld – and to be doing so in record quick time. We very much look forward to flying alongside some of the best airlines in the world from 30 October, bringing the heightened benefits offered by oneworld to our customers.”
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Qatar Airways). Airbus A321-231 A7-ADX (msn 3397) climbs away from the runway at the old Doha International Airport. The new replacement Hamad International Airport has been built on reclaimed land adjacent to the old airport.