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IATA AGM 2014: oneworld celebrates Gulf’s newest hub

IATA AGM 2014: oneworld celebrates Gulf’s newest hub

oneworld will be making a splash at this year’s IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will see leaders of the world’s airline industry gather in Doha this weekend

Marking the occasion, oneworld is celebrating the full opening of Hamad International Airport by cutting 15 per cent off the price of the alliance’s Visit Middle East pass until June 24th.

The state-of-the-art US$ 15.5 billion Hamad International Airport is designed to strengthen Doha’s role as a premium global hub. 

The new airport, with an oasis theme with water motifs, wave-styled roofs and desert plants growing in recycled water has an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.

Qatar Airways moved its operations to Hamad International Airport earlier this week

oneworld’s Visit Middle East pass makes travel around the region easier and better value for international travellers, offering attractive flexible fares on flights within one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.  For the month ahead, it is even better value, with the special 15 per cent discount.

oneworld, which was named World’s Leading Airline Alliance in 2013 by the World Travel Awards, is also thought of as the leading airline alliance serving the Middle East, with two airlines based there – Qatar Airways, which is the only major Gulf carrier to be part of a global airline alliance, and Royal Jordanian, which was the first airline from the Arab world to become part of one of the airline groups.

Last year, Qatar Airways joined oneworld in October, marking one of the biggest projects in the airline’s history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity, bringing its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance’s requirements, and running extensive employee training and communications programmes. 

The carrier joined oneworld, just one year after receiving its invitation to join, which makes its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance’s history. 

A more typical timeline for an airline to comply with the many membership requirements of oneworld, which was named World’s Leading Airline Alliance by the   World Travel Awards in 2013, is 18-24 months.

Qatar Airways, which serves more than 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, is oneworld’s second member airline based in the Middle East. 

More than 20 of its destinations and five countries – Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – were new to the oneworld map.

More significantly, Qatar Airways was able to further 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.

Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Alliances are playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry today – and that will continue long into the future. 

“Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways’ history.

“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. 

“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 join any of the global airline alliances – and we are proud to become part of what is clearly the world’s top quality airline alliance, oneworld.”

Qatar Airways won Middle East’s Leading Business Airline Lounge at the World Travel Awards 2013

To further enhance their dedication to the important Middle Eastern market, oneworld’s Visit Middle East pass features all their flights within the Gulf, Levant and Egypt – and also those of the other oneworld partners operating within this region, British Airways and Cathay Pacific – giving unrivalled coverage of the area.

It offers flights to 33 destinations in 12 countries – providing just the ticket to take in the wonders of Petra, the riches of Luxor, cosmopolitan Doha or the sandy beaches of Muscat.

oneworld offers the most extensive range of alliance fares, enabling customers to fly on multiple airlines with savings on regular published fares, whether they want to travel right around the world, or explore one or more continents or regions. 

Besides the Middle East, these include Visit passes for Asia, South Asian Sub-Continent, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Japan and Malaysia.