Qatar Airways to Join oneworld Alliance

airlineQatar Airways will join oneworld, adding one of the world's fastest growing airlines to the global alliance. Qatar Airways is the first of the three major airlines based in the Gulf to sign for any of the global airline alliances. 

The Doha-based airline's entry into oneworld is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, the alliance says. The carrier reports it will move into a  new home in 2013 with the opening of the New Doha International Airport. The facility is designed to serve as a premium global hub with an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.

British Airways will serve as its sponsor in joining oneworld, supported by the central oneworld alliance team. Qatar Airways will be oneworld's second member airline based in the Middle East, alongside Royal Jordanian.

Qatar Airways' network serves 120 destinations in 70 countries in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, including oneworld hubs Amman, Berlin Tegel, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow Domodedovo, New York JFK, Osaka Kansai, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and the Kuala Lumpur home of oneworld member elect Malaysia Airlines.

Its addition will increase oneworld's global coverage to 856 destinations in 159 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,600 aircraft operating more than 9,300 flights and carrying almost a million passengers every day (342 million a year), generating annual revenues of nearly US$ 120 billion.

Qatar Airways already code-shares with oneworld member designate Malaysia Airlines. It will develop bilateral links with more airlines in the alliance as it moves towards becoming a member of the group.

When Qatar Airways becomes part of oneworld, its customers will gain access to the alliance's global network, oneworld says. The 2.2 million members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer program 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 550 plus airport lounges.Its network will be covered by oneworld's range of alliance fares. 

At the same time, the 125 million frequent flyer cardholders of oneworld's established airlines will be able to earn and redeem rewards when flying on Qatar Airways and access Qatar Airways' lounges.