Qatar Airways became the first Gulf carrier to join the oneworld alliance in October, adding one of the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated global airline alliance.
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.
It makes oneworld the leading alliance in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
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.
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.”
At a ceremony to mark its entry into oneworld, held at Hamad International Airport, which will open soon as Qatar Airways’ new home base, Qatar Airways spectacularly “unveiled” the first aircraft in its fleet to be decorated in a special oneworld livery – with the Boeing 777-300 becoming the first aircraft to “land” at the new airport.
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 has an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh added: “In Qatar Airways, oneworld is pleased to welcome another great airline that enhances the alliance’s network and product offerings in one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
“Qatar Airways’ excellent reputation for customer service mirrors oneworld’s own focus. British Airways is delighted to have supported Qatar Airways throughout its oneworld joining process and we wish it, its customers and employees a warm welcome on board.”