Qatar Airways will… no won’t… no will join the OneWorld alliance!

Holy mackerel, it must be April Fools in Doha or something. Over the weekend I posted about a Flightglobal article suggesting that Qatar Airways would be joining the OneWorld alliance, including the following quote:

Oneworld will hold an event announcing a “significant membership development” on 8 October, coming amidst widely-reported discussions with Qatar Airways about joining the alliance.

The event will be held in New York and includes Bruce Ashby, chief executive of Oneworld, Tom Horton, chairman and chief executive of American Airlines, and Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), according to documents obtained by Flightglobal.

Qatar has been linked to joining one of the big three alliances in the near future.

Then a day later I posted about Qatar Airways’ CEO dismissing the rumors, per a Reuters article:

Qatar Airways has no plans to join the oneworld airline alliance, its Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on Sunday, dismissing reports that the airline had become the newest member of the group as “rumor.”

Asked if the carrier would join oneworld, which includes British Airways, owned by IAG, Baker said: “No, we will not. It’s all rumors.”

And today the Financial Times is reporting that Qatar Airways will be joining the OneWorld alliance:

Qatar Airways is set to be the first of the fast-expanding Gulf carriers to become a member of one of the global airline alliances, by agreeing to join oneworld.

I can understand Qatar Airways not wanting to confirm the rumor until the official announcement is made, but the CEO blatantly dismissing it? I don’t get it…

Definitely a big win for frequent flyers, though like I said in my previous posts, I don’t see this as an especially good match from the perspective of OneWorld airlines. I guess this helps to explain why Qatar Airways and United terminated their relationship in September.

The one thing worth noting is that on the mileage redemption front Qatar’s relationship with American won’t be quite as lucrative as it was with United. That’s because for the most part American doesn’t let you transit other zones on an all partner award ticket without pricing it as separate awards. Through United you could book Qatar Airways award tickets from the US to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, etc. Through American you’ll only be able to book Qatar Airways award tickets to the Middle East and India.

I also wonder what this means for American’s relationship with Etihad Airways

Filed Under: Qatar
  1. I wonder who FT’s sources are? “Qatar Airways, which has its hub in Doha, has been in discussions for several months about joining oneworld. An announcement could be made next Monday, although Qatar Airways and oneworld declined to comment.”

  2. From what I’ve read, Ethiad has a better reputation for its premium service than Qatar, but it’s hard to see their remaining an AA partner when Qatar joins OneWorld…and Air Berlin may well follow them out the door.

  3. Akbar al-Baker is a liar, or Akbar al-Baker is a liar.

    This just in, CEOs (and many of those who report to and want to be them) lie.

  4. @Stuart

    Why would Air Berlin leave OW? They just became a full member very recently? That would be a lot of work to undo so quickly.

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