The globe got a bit smaller for travelers in the oneworld network this week as Qatar Airways joined the alliance. The airline is the first of the "big three" Gulf carriers to join one of the global alliances, marking a major shift in the way these carriers have participated in the aviation markets. By joining with the oneworld alliance Qatar Airways joins twelve other carriers and integrates their 130 destinations into the nearly 1000 served by oneworld members across the world.
Both Qatar Airways and oneworld pride themselves not on being the largest but on providing the best service to their customers and easy access to the most important business destinations. Qatar Airways has approximately 70% of its operations working in markets—within the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa—which are currently underserved by other oneworld members. Their integration into the group will represent an increase in options for travelers rather than simply being another airline flying covering the same airports as the existing members.
CEO Akbar Al Bakar expressed pride and excitement at the ceremony, noting that their membership will "strengthen [Qatar Airways'] competitive offering and give our customers what they fully deserve—more choices across a truly global network."
Members of the frequent flyer programs associated with each of the oneworld partners will also benefit, with more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as well as preferred treatment for the most frequent travelers at airports around the globe. Top tier members of the Qatar Airways Privilege Club program will now have access to benefits across the oneworld alliance including access to more than 550 lounges, increased baggage allowances and other perks. Additionally, all alliance members are offering a double miles promotion related to travel on Qatar Airways or, in the case of Privilege Club, travel on other partners.
The future of global alliances has been seen as uncertain in recent months as partnerships outside of the alliance groups have overshadowed those within. Qatar Airways and oneworld are looking to show that the value proposition of these alliances remains strong for both the airlines and their customers.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Qatar Airways