The global media spotlight was firmly on the Doha-based airline as it became the first of the major Gulf carriers to officially join a global alliance having been invited into the oneworld group.
Over 70 American and international media from around the world descended on the Four Seasons Hotel in New York on Monday for the key announcement that will effectively give Qatar Airways a wider global network of routes through oneworld partners.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker joined fellow CEOs from oneworld members American Airlines and IAG, parent of British Airways and Iberia, for the official announcement in the Big Apple.
Al Baker said: “This is by far the biggest aviation industry story of the year so far. Qatar Airways is delighted to have been invited to join oneworld, which will provide extensive benefits to our passengers and to oneworld passengers, bringing not only another airline to the alliance, but also a great new travel experience for those who have not flown with Qatar Airways before.”
Qatar Airways, officially sponsored by British Airways to join the alliance, will spend the next 12 – 18 months going through the oneworld implementation programme.
oneworld members include airberlin, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates, including Austria’s NIKI, American Eagle, Dragonair in China, South American carriers LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru, as well as Malaysia Airlines and SriLankan, which are due to join the alliance over the next few months.
The alliance will see coordination of flights, schedules and systems of Qatar Airways operations with member airlines to offer all oneworld passengers with improved routings, connections and travel convenience through alliance hubs around the world.
In addition, Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem rewards on any of oneworld’s other carriers, with top tier members able to use any of the group’s over 550 airport lounges, as well as take advantage of attractive alliance fares.
Qatar Airways will strengthen oneworld’s customer offering with superior routing alternatives across thousands of city pairs. For example, passengers flying between Australia and Southern Europe or between Asia and Africa will now have convenient one-stop connections not previously available within the oneworld network.
In just 15 years of operations, Qatar Airways has built up a solid international route network winning countless awards for high service levels on the way, including the Five Star Skytrax ranking for service and excellence.
Qatar Airways currently operates 111 aircraft, one of the world’s youngest and most modern fleets, from its Doha hub to 119 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.
Its network spans oneworld hubs Amman, Berlin Tegel, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow Domodedovo, New York John F. Kennedy, Osaka Kansai, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and the Kuala Lumpur home of oneworld member-elect Malaysia Airlines.
Since the beginning of 2012, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Perth (Australia), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), and last week Yangon (Myanmar).
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways will launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Maputo, Mozambique (October 31); Belgrade, Serbia (November 20); Warsaw, Poland (December 5); Gassim, Saudi Arabia (7 January 2013); Najaf, Iraq (January 23); and Chicago, USA (April 10).
About Qatar Airways – In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012, and maintaining its Five Star excellence, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the seventh year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was rated Best Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012. Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com
About oneworld – oneworld enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges. oneworld also offers more alliance fares than any of its competitors. oneworld is current holder of three leading international awards for airline alliances – named the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its Reader Survey 2011 Awards for the second year running, the World’s Leading Airline Alliance in the 2011 World Travel Awards, for the ninth consecutive year, and the Best Airline Alliance 2011 in Australian Business Traveller’s debut awards.