1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker took centre stage with IAG's Willie Walsh and Oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby at Doha's new Hamad International airport to formally sign the airline's entry into the alliance.
The event was attended by senior management from all member airlines, the Qatari prime minister as well as media from around the world.Al Baker said: “This is a win for Qatar Airways, Oneworld airlines and all our customers. We are convinced the time is right to join an alliance and Oneworld is clearly the best.
“A key benefit for our customers is widening our point-to-point connection offering. It offers connection to virtually every city in the globe.”
He also cited the benefits for the 140 million alliance cardholders, and announced a special offer to all Oneworld member programme cardholders of double Qmiles rewards from November 15 to January 31.Al Baker said with Royal Jordanian the two members offered a “leading position in our Middle East home region” with an "unrivalled" network of 30 destinations in 12 countries across region.Oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said the alliance’s share of revenues for the world's top 100 cities was 27 per cent (including airlines joining in the next few months).
“Although that makes Oneworld the number two alliance in terms of revenue sharer, the numbers are so close that we are only one large new member away from the top spot,” he added.
Qatar's entry expands the airline's reach to almost 900 destinations, said Ashby, while Qatar adds 21 destinations to the Oneworld network.Walsh, CEO of British Airways’ parent IAG, said Qatar's entry marked “the latest step in the alliance's biggest expansion programme to date”.
He said this expansion began 18 months ago with Air Berlin joining and this was closely followed by the integration into BA of former Star Alliance member Bmi.
This year has seen Malaysia Airlines join Oneworld, and LATAM confirming membership for the whole group, with TAM moving from Star Alliance in March 2014.
“This puts us in the top position in alliances in all of Latin America,” said Walsh.
Oneworld will also be boosted by the entry of Sri Lankan Airlines, which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2014.
Walsh also said “we are very much hoping for” the planned American Airlines-US Airways merger to clear its current legal obstacles in the US, which would lead to further enlargement of Oneworld.
“With all these new members onboard, Oneworld will have increased its scope, on most measures, by more than 50 per cent in the last two years,” he said, adding that the network would have more than 1,000 destinations.The event took place in the $15 billion Hamad International Airport, which is still not operational, after a planned opening date in December 2012 was postponed. According to local reports, the country's minister of transport, Jassim Seif Al Sulaiti, has said the airport will officially open early next year.