Qatar Airways officially becomes a member of the oneworld alliance today.
The airline will become the first major Gulf carrier to join an airline alliance in a ceremony at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The event will see the unveiling of the airline’s first aircraft to feature the oneworld livery – a Boeing 777 aircraft.
Qatar Airways officially joins oneworld just one year after receiving its invitation, making its induction into the alliance one of the fastest in history. Typically, airlines take 18-24 months to fulfil the membership requirements, and occasionally never end up joining.
The membership of Qatar Airways will be a major boost to oneworld, which is currently the smallest of the three global airline alliances in terms of full member airlines. The carrier will be able use its global location and extensive network to connect with the networks of oneworld’s other member airlines, which include British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and Japan Airlines. More than 20 of its destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to the oneworld route map.
Following Qatar Airways’ membership, oneworld will serve almost 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures. It will carry 475 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft, generating approximately US$140 billion in annual revenues.
“Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways’ history,” said Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker. “It will strengthen our competitive offering and give our customers what they fully deserve – more choice across a truly global network served together with airline partners who include some of the best and biggest in the world.”
oneworld’s CEO Bruce Ashby added; “oneworld aims to be the first choice alliance for the world’s frequent international travellers, with an unrivalled collection of quality carriers, delivering unmatched benefits to customers and to member airlines alike. Qatar Airways’ addition as our second member airline in the Middle East makes oneworld the leading alliance in what is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
“oneworld is delighted to be the only global alliance to welcome on board one of the major Gulf carriers, enabling us to be the only global alliance to offer consumers the services and benefits offered by both a global alliance and a Gulf carrier,” he added.
Qatar Airways will now adorn four of its aircraft with the oneworld livery – two Boeing 777s and two Airbus A320s.
The airline is one of several new additions to the oneworld alliance expected in the coming months. Following the arrival of Malaysia Airlines earlier this year, Brazil’s TAM Airlines will join in March 2014, with SriLankan Airlines expected to follow later next year.
Qatar Airways becomes the 13th full member of the oneworld alliance, following airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.