Akbar al-Baker (C), IAG chief executive officer Willie Walsh (L)
and oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby look on after signing an agreement.
Qatar Airways joins oneworld alliance
Doha, October 29, 2013
Qatar Airways will become part of the oneworld alliance at midnight tonight (Doha time), becoming the first major Gulf carrier to join the global airline alliance.
From its first flights tomorrow morning - QR633 which leaves Dhaka for Doha at 03.15 local (00.15 Doha time) and the QR1166 from Doha for Riyadh, leaving five minutes later at 00.20 Doha time - Qatar Airways will be offering oneworld's full range of services and benefits.
The airline joins 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 is 18-24 months, said a statement.
For Qatar Airways, joining oneworld marks the latest achievement in its 16-year history.
Becoming part of oneworld, which holds more "best alliance" awards than any of its competitors, will strengthen Qatar Airways' competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners that include leading airlines from every region, it said.
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.
Worldwide, with 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 475 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft; generate $140 billion annual revenues.
At a ceremony to mark its entry into oneworld, held at the new Hamad International Airport, which will open soon as Qatar Airways' new home base, Qatar Airways "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 $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.
Held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the ceremony was hosted by Qatar Airways' chief executive Akbar Al Baker and attended by the CEOs and senior executives from all other oneworld member airlines.
As they assembled, the 777-300 in its oneworld livery flew overhead before landing and becoming the first aircraft to taxi onto a stand in front of Hamad International Airport's terminal building.
Qatar Airways' addition to oneworld tonight will be promoted with of one of the biggest marketing campaigns in the airline's history, too, with an extensive advertising campaign to highlight the new alliance services and benefits available to its customers.
Since accepting its invitation to join the alliance a year ago, Qatar Airways has expanded its code-sharing relationships to two established oneworld partners - American Airlines and Malaysia Airlines
The 3 million members of Qatar Airways' Privilege Club loyalty programme will from midnight tonight enjoy the full range of oneworld frequent flyer benefits when travelling with any oneworld member airline worldwide - airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and their 30 affiliated airlines.
Privilege members will be able to earn and redeem Qmiles on any oneworld flight. In celebration of the airline's addition to the alliance, they will receive double Qmiles award miles when flying on Qatar Airways' oneworld partners between November 15 and January 31 (except between 20 December 20 and January 5).
To encourage travellers to visit Qatar Airways' home region, the alliance today launched its new oneworld Visit Middle East pass, offering attractive flexible fares on flights within the region bought in conjunction with a flight on a oneworld carrier to the region. Besides flights on Qatar Airways it includes all other oneworld schedules within the region, including sectors on Royal Jordanian, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.
These new fares will be available for sale from November 1, when Qatar Airways' global network will be covered by oneworld's full, market-leading range of alliance fares and sales products. - TradeArabia News Service