There has been lot of noise in the past two weeks about the press conference that was going to take place in New York today. The CEO of Qatar Airways denied that the airline would have been joining the alliance last week contradictory what was published on Financial Times.
The airline is indeed joining the Oneworld alliance and completion of becoming a member is expected to take from 12 to 18 months. So, we are looking late 2013 or early 2014 as likely official joining date for Qatar. You can access the official Oneworld press release here.
Currently the oneworld alliance consists of eleven member airlines; airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines.
Malaysian Airlines and SriLankan Airlines are currently in the process of joining the alliance. Oneworld alliance member Malev went bankrupt earlier this year and the joining of Kingfisher Airlines was cancelled due to its financial difficulties.
Qatar is the first of the big three of the Middle Eastern carriers to join an alliance. Emirates has always said that they are not interested in joining and they just formed a partnership with oneworld member airline Qantas. Etihad announced earlier today the deep codesharing agreement that they are going forward with Air France-KLM.
It is interesting that Qatar chose Oneworld. It has had more frequent flier ties with Star Alliance carriers like United, US Airways, and BMI than with oneworld ones (none).
Qatar Airways route network
The airline already serves 120 destinations worldwide. The latest one was reintroduction of flights to Yangon, the capitol of Myanmar, last week.
The airline flies to New York, Washington DC, Chicago (in 2013), Houston, Montreal and to Sao Paulo with a continuing service to Buenos Aires.
Europe, North Africa & Middle East
The airline serves more than 30 destinations on continental Europe. The airline has an extensive network in Northern Africa and in the Middle East.
The airline serves nine destinations in Central and Southern Africa + Seychelles.
Indian Subcontinent & Asia
The airline servers number of destinations in India and Asia.
The airline currently serves both Perth and Melbourne
This is interesting movie from Qatar’s part. We’ll see if Star Alliance is able to lure either Emirates or Etihad. For the most part, I have liked the service that I have received on Qatar flights. I am not huge fan of the transfer experience in Doha, but it should get better in 2013 when the new airport is ready.