Oman Air Wants To Join The Oneworld Alliance

Oman Air Wants To Join The Oneworld Alliance

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My favorite boutique airline wants to join the oneworld alliance, and gosh do I hope this happens.

Oman Air interested in oneworld alliance

Reuters is reporting that Oman Air intends to apply to join the oneworld global alliance, and the airline hopes for Qatar Airways’ support in accomplishing this. Qatar Airways is not only another airline from the region, but also a oneworld member airline, and for that matter Qatar Airways’ CEO is the current chairman of oneworld.

Oman Air’s excellent business class

Here’s what the airline said in a statement:

“As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever. This will provide us with excellent global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests.”

Meanwhile the oneworld alliance had the following to say in a statement:

“As airlines recover from COVID-19, alliances will become more important by providing global connectivity, as airlines reshape their networks, many with reduced fleets when compared to their pre-COVID size.”

The oneworld alliance is one of the three major global alliances. Major airlines in oneworld include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and more. The airline has recently added two new members (Alaska and Royal Air Maroc), but the airline also lost one member (LATAM).

I would be thrilled if Oman Air joined the oneworld alliance — oneworld offers the strongest elite recognition of any major alliance (I love being a oneworld Emerald), and I’m also a fan of Oman Air’s first & business class product. I’d love to be able to earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Oman Air.

I’d love to be able to redeem oneworld miles for Oman Air first class

The interesting Qatar Airways dynamic at play

What I’m not sure of is where exactly Oman Air is in the process of applying for oneworld membership:

  • Has Oman Air approached oneworld prior to today’s announcement about the intention to apply for membership, or did the airline just decide to make this public from the start of negotiations?
  • What made Oman Air decide on oneworld over Star Alliance or SkyTeam?
  • Has Oman Air consulted Qatar Airways yet about seeking its help, or is the airline just publicly saying “hey, we want to join oneworld, and hopefully our competitor Qatar Airways will help us?”
  • Oman Air does already have a codeshare partnership with Qatar Airways, but that’s not quite the same level as full alliance membership

If you ask me, this is a tricky situation for Qatar Airways:

  • Generally airlines with complementary route networks join alliances, and arguably there’s a lot of overlap between Qatar Airways and Oman Air, in terms of the traffic they serve (flights between Europe and Asia, for example)
  • On the surface you’d think Qatar Airways might be opposed to a pretty direct competitor joining oneworld, though at the same time Qatar Airways’ CEO is currently the chairman of oneworld, and he has stated that his goal is to grow the alliance
  • While Oman Air is a direct competitor of Qatar Airways, I think Qatar Airways ultimately views Emirates Airline as its biggest competitor, and perhaps having Oman Air on its side could be a further asset
  • The reality is that there aren’t that many airlines looking to join the major alliances, so it’ll be interesting to see if oneworld takes what it can get, or if politics get in the way of that
Qatar Airways’ CEO wants to grow the oneworld alliance

Is Oman Air a good fit for oneworld?

In some ways I’m surprised by Oman Air’s focus on specifically wanting to join oneworld. As much as I’d love that to happen, on the surface you’d think that Star Alliance would be a better fit:

  • The oneworld alliance already has Qatar Airways, one of the biggest Gulf airlines, which competes pretty directly with Oman Air for connecting traffic
  • Star Alliance, on the other hand, doesn’t have any airlines immediately from that region; the closest airlines would be EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines, but I wouldn’t consider those to be direct competitors in the same way

That makes me wonder if there’s something specifically about oneworld that makes it more appealing to Oman Air, if the negotiations are further along than we might think, or what.

Star Alliance could be a good fit for Oman Air as well

Bottom line

Oman Air is hoping to join the oneworld alliance, and is asking Qatar Airways for help. It’s not entirely clear what the odds are of this becoming a reality — we know Oman Air wants to join, but we don’t know how interested the oneworld alliance is, and we also don’t know how Qatar Airways will feel about this.

Often politics get in the way of new airlines joining alliances, since airlines don’t want new direct competitors. With Qatar Airways’ CEO being the current chairman of oneworld, he has vowed to grow the alliance. Here’s to hoping that includes allowing in rival airlines, and realizing that Qatar Airways is better off working with Oman Air to gain market share from Emirates.

I would be delighted to see Oman Air join the oneworld alliance — I’m a oneworld loyalist, and I adore Oman Air, so I’d be excited to be able to earn & redeem valuable miles on Oman Air, and also take advantage of elite perks.

What do you make of Oman Air’s desire to join oneworld?

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  1. Phillip

    Let’s not forget the politics. Oman was one of the very few ME countries not to be part of the blockade against Qatar!

  2. Bubba

    It's real simple...add Gulf Air (who has partnerships with some OW) & the old Gulf Air is complete.

  3. VT-CIE

    I always have thought that Oman Air is an excellent choice for the Star Alliance, as then it will not have to be in the shadow of Qatar Airways, and it can be the premium Middle Eastern airline of the Star Alliance. Within Oneworld, Royal Jordanian has hardly been heard of since posting some witty ads about the 2016 election, because it has largely been sidelined in favour of QR. I would hate to see...

    I always have thought that Oman Air is an excellent choice for the Star Alliance, as then it will not have to be in the shadow of Qatar Airways, and it can be the premium Middle Eastern airline of the Star Alliance. Within Oneworld, Royal Jordanian has hardly been heard of since posting some witty ads about the 2016 election, because it has largely been sidelined in favour of QR. I would hate to see an independent boutique airline like Oman Air to lose its identity in front of a global giant like QR. In the Star Alliance, it would provide greater ME coverage in addition to EgyptAir, Air India and Turkish Airlines, whereas in Oneworld I believe it will always be dominated by QR.

  4. robbo

    Amazing, bring it on! Love Oman air, especially since I reside in Sri Lanka, they have great services from here

  5. RNS

    I think OW will benefit from Oman Air, despite Oman Air being a very small airline in itself (compared to Qatar Airways). Few reasons:

    1) Emirates has a very strong presence in Indian Subcontinent. Despite Qatar making inroads, it is nowhere close to the size of Emirates (inclusive of flydubai). Overall OW presence in this region is limited vs. Star Alliance & Emirates
    Thus, if Oman Air is in OW, then capacity management in...

    I think OW will benefit from Oman Air, despite Oman Air being a very small airline in itself (compared to Qatar Airways). Few reasons:

    1) Emirates has a very strong presence in Indian Subcontinent. Despite Qatar making inroads, it is nowhere close to the size of Emirates (inclusive of flydubai). Overall OW presence in this region is limited vs. Star Alliance & Emirates
    Thus, if Oman Air is in OW, then capacity management in the Indian Sub-continent to Gulf market is now shared between Qatar Airways & Oman Air, thereby allowing Qatar to focus on North America destinations while Oman Air could potentially fill the GCC segment (one stoppers from non-metro cities).

    2) Oman itself is a gorgeous country, with solid tourism potential.

    3) London (and other top EU destinations), which are an important destination from the sub-continent, can now be reached via 3 routes, giving flexibility vs Star & Emirates. Here, Star has good presence across LH, TK & other smaller players.

    I for one, hope Oman Air does join in. They offer good quality that I personally equate with OW (QR & CX tbh, not so much with BA)

  6. Alan DS

    We flow always or business and sometimes first class in the past. For the future we prefer to pay a little bit more to fly with a small plane like the Gulfstream by Qatar Airways for example. We are so scared about the COVID-19 pandemic because we are very weak persons.
    The last time, just before the pandemic - january 2020, we, my wife and Iself, flow with Oman Airlines from Paris CDG to...

    We flow always or business and sometimes first class in the past. For the future we prefer to pay a little bit more to fly with a small plane like the Gulfstream by Qatar Airways for example. We are so scared about the COVID-19 pandemic because we are very weak persons.
    The last time, just before the pandemic - january 2020, we, my wife and Iself, flow with Oman Airlines from Paris CDG to Bangkok and back in business class, before I flow or with Qatar Airways or with Finnair. The flight service By Oman Airlines was excellent, you can compare them easily with Qatar Airways except there is no bar on board.
    Food and service from Paris - Muscat and Muscat to BKK and back was very good, nearly same as by Qatar Airways. The hours we had during the stopover were minimal, only 1.15 hours, just enough to go from one gate to another one and passed the passport control.
    We recommend OMAN AIRLINES especialy the flights with their newer Dreamliner Boeing 787.
    We hope they could join the ONE WORLD ALLIANCE Group, they are an excellent alternative route in case there is no more place by Qatar Airways.

  7. glenn t

    Would indeed be nice to see OW take on a new classy airline following its previous non-classy entrants, Alaska and Royal Air Maroc.
    Agree with Ben that this is an exciting development!

  8. Tom

    Qatar Airways and Oman Air have an extensive codeshare agreement.

    Per, https://simpleflying.com/qatar-oman-air-codeshare-agreement/ "From 2021 onwards, Qatar Airways will begin flying Oman Air passengers to 65 destinations across Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. The relationship will work in both directions, with Qatar Airways passengers getting access to six more destinations flown to by Oman Air....Both airlines said that they would continue to look at how to improve further and optimize their...

    Qatar Airways and Oman Air have an extensive codeshare agreement.

    Per, https://simpleflying.com/qatar-oman-air-codeshare-agreement/ "From 2021 onwards, Qatar Airways will begin flying Oman Air passengers to 65 destinations across Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. The relationship will work in both directions, with Qatar Airways passengers getting access to six more destinations flown to by Oman Air....Both airlines said that they would continue to look at how to improve further and optimize their relationship."

    Based on that information — and my assumption that WY wouldn't be so reckless with their relationship with Akbar Al Baker, as to make a OneWorld announcement, without already having discussed it with him — it seems logical that QR is probably already onboard.

  9. JW

    It's pretty obvious there is something that the OW alliance or community itself can offer to airlines that made them decide to join, its the only alliance that has added 3 members in the pandemic. Starlux of Taiwan will be the next to join OW.

    1. Eskimo

      Funny I actually don't think Starlux can join OW without CX blessing. They have fended off a giant like CZ, so I hardly think Starlux would even have a chance.

      Maybe if family greed is put aside, Evergreen might buy Starlux and join *A.

  10. Gordon

    For Oman Air to be accepted by oneWorld, its application has to be proposed by another member carrier (just as QF endorsed the MH application). Who would be the endorser of Oman Air's application?

  11. T. Jones

    Take my comment with a grain of salt as I know virtually nothing about how the airline industry does business.
    On its surface, Oman Airline's interest in joining OneWorld while competing directly with Qatar doesn't seem to make much sense. However if you think of this in context of the pandemic's impact on the airlines, it may be worth considering the possibility that Oman Airlines may be signaling the potential for a future merger...

    Take my comment with a grain of salt as I know virtually nothing about how the airline industry does business.
    On its surface, Oman Airline's interest in joining OneWorld while competing directly with Qatar doesn't seem to make much sense. However if you think of this in context of the pandemic's impact on the airlines, it may be worth considering the possibility that Oman Airlines may be signaling the potential for a future merger - presumably with Qatar Airlines. In lean economic times, it's not unusual for businesses to start talking mergers. While it was not specifically stated, it does make me wonder...

    1. JB

      While your thinking does make sense in other industries, I think this is highly unlikely to happen in this case. Oman Air and Qatar Airways are both national airlines of their respective countries, and each government is willing to provide support due to the benefit they provide to their respective country. There is no way a merger is going to happen, though there is a possibility Qatar may buy a stake in Oman Air (as...

      While your thinking does make sense in other industries, I think this is highly unlikely to happen in this case. Oman Air and Qatar Airways are both national airlines of their respective countries, and each government is willing to provide support due to the benefit they provide to their respective country. There is no way a merger is going to happen, though there is a possibility Qatar may buy a stake in Oman Air (as it has with other airlines) or the two may be looking for closer cooperation.

  12. Ghostrider5408

    I was against Alaska joining OW/AA however the new management at AS feels different than a lot of it's FF. Now with Oman v Qatar I am good with it, adds come good old fashion competition let alone trying to complete with EK. I will say EK product is getting a bit stale/long in the tooth as well.

    Not sure of the answer I do think the ME3 or so needs to add premium...

    I was against Alaska joining OW/AA however the new management at AS feels different than a lot of it's FF. Now with Oman v Qatar I am good with it, adds come good old fashion competition let alone trying to complete with EK. I will say EK product is getting a bit stale/long in the tooth as well.

    Not sure of the answer I do think the ME3 or so needs to add premium coach cabin as well.

    With all that is going on around us there is more to come within the airline/hotel industries.

  13. Vinh Duong

    Wow - color me surprised Lucky is excited for another dictatorial Middle East homophobic cult to join his favorite alliance. As long as you wear your mask, you're not a blazing hypocrite.

    1. verty

      Vinh you know the last sultan of Oman was gay?
      https://www.albawaba.com/node/was-omans-late-sultan-only-gay-monarch-world-and-why-do-people-care-1332272

    2. Commenting Commenter

      LOL There's always one…

  14. Norman

    Wasn't the Qatar airlines CEO always threatening to quit Oneworld?

  15. Weymar Osborne

    As a Star Alliance loyalist, I selfishly hope they would join there instead. However, with Asiana (my main *A program) set to be taken over by Korean Air, and Alaska joining OneWorld maybe the writing's on the wall and I should make a switch of alliances soon. UA is my primary airline in the US, but that's only because of my commitment to Star Alliance and not because I have any compelling reason to fly...

    As a Star Alliance loyalist, I selfishly hope they would join there instead. However, with Asiana (my main *A program) set to be taken over by Korean Air, and Alaska joining OneWorld maybe the writing's on the wall and I should make a switch of alliances soon. UA is my primary airline in the US, but that's only because of my commitment to Star Alliance and not because I have any compelling reason to fly them over competitors. Many are saying alliances are becoming an obsolete concept, but with OW being the only one that's really trying these days, they could conceivably entice me to choose their airlines over others.

  16. Alexf1

    What about Royal Jordanian? There would be a lot of overlap there too?

    1. tipsyinmadras

      Yeah, seems quite an oversight that an article about OneWorld in the Middle East didn't even RJ, the first/original Middle Eastern member of the alliance.

  17. Ken

    Oman and Qatar have been working together in the past and they do have a good relationship. That was never the case for Qatar with any other airline in GCC. They have a code share agreement between Muscat and Doha. They work tightly on the schedule together on that route. You won't see that between Doha mad Dubai or Abu Dhabi or Kuwait or Bahrain...so maybe that is why Oman asked Qatar for help.

  18. Lu

    With a future anticipated fleet size of less than 40, Oman Air cannot compete with Qatar Airways' 200+. I don't think Qatar Airways would object as long as Oman Air accepts the terms of Oneworld. Given governments' ownership in both airlines, joining Oneworld could be a political move. Remember, Oman didn't participate in the blockade against Qatar, and Qatar could be thankful for that.

  19. Montenegro

    Interesting that they don't want Star Alliance. They partner with 6 star alliance partners and one of them is Turkish. Oman only partners with 4 in ONEWORLD and 4 in Skyteam. Or Maybe Star Alliance is waiting for Etihad to join. With covid and closed borders anything to help profitability will be the norm.

  20. Francoise

    @Lucky Didn't Oman Air just shack up with Air Canada only a few months ago? Ostensibly they signed a minimum of 3-5 year deal, what are you thoughts on what would happen to that?

    1. moe

      @Francoise no, Air Canada partnered with Gulf Air, also note that Air Canada is very close with Ethiad, Qatar Airways and Gulf Air via partnership so it wouldn't really matter if they did or didn't

  21. Sosie

    Start alliance really needs to get someone on the area

  22. Aa

    I really wish they went to Star Alliance instead. They lack a strong Middle Eastern partner as you said. Moreover, for Americans Oneworld is proving to be a great choice now that Alaska joined, but I have Million Miler with United and am therefore loyal to Star Alliance.

  23. Insano41m

    Would be interesting to see… but I really wish that LATAM hadn’t left oneworld, it’s leaving a gap in oneworlds globe

Featured Comments Load all 29 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Weymar Osborne

As a Star Alliance loyalist, I selfishly hope they would join there instead. However, with Asiana (my main *A program) set to be taken over by Korean Air, and Alaska joining OneWorld maybe the writing's on the wall and I should make a switch of alliances soon. UA is my primary airline in the US, but that's only because of my commitment to Star Alliance and not because I have any compelling reason to fly them over competitors. Many are saying alliances are becoming an obsolete concept, but with OW being the only one that's really trying these days, they could conceivably entice me to choose their airlines over others.

Lu

With a future anticipated fleet size of less than 40, Oman Air cannot compete with Qatar Airways' 200+. I don't think Qatar Airways would object as long as Oman Air accepts the terms of Oneworld. Given governments' ownership in both airlines, joining Oneworld could be a political move. Remember, Oman didn't participate in the blockade against Qatar, and Qatar could be thankful for that.

VT-CIE

I always have thought that Oman Air is an excellent choice for the Star Alliance, as then it will not have to be in the shadow of Qatar Airways, and it can be the premium Middle Eastern airline of the Star Alliance. Within Oneworld, Royal Jordanian has hardly been heard of since posting some witty ads about the 2016 election, because it has largely been sidelined in favour of QR. I would hate to see an independent boutique airline like Oman Air to lose its identity in front of a global giant like QR. In the Star Alliance, it would provide greater ME coverage in addition to EgyptAir, Air India and Turkish Airlines, whereas in Oneworld I believe it will always be dominated by QR.

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