Last updated: 29 October, 2013

Qatar Airways joins Oneworld alliance

Qatar Airways announced it is to become a full member of the Oneworld airline grouping on Wednesday, becoming the only major Gulf carrier to join a global alliance.

“From its first flights tomorrow (Wednesday) morning… Qatar Airways will be offering Oneworld’s full range of services and benefits,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

Qatar Airways is the second Middle Eastern carrier — after Royal Jordanian — to join the alliance founded in 1998 by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

“Becoming a member of Oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways’ history,” said its CEO, Akbar al-Baker.

“It will strengthen our competitive offering.”

Qatar Airways serves more than 130 destinations in 70 countries. It has a fleet of 130 aircrafts and has orders and options for more than 250 new planes for delivery over the next few years.

Qatar, a wealthy gas producer, has made huge investments in infrastructure to establish itself as an international hub before it hosts the football World Cup in 2022.

A new airport, Hamad International Airport, was scheduled to open in Doha on April 1 but has been delayed after it failed to meet new security standards.

Built at a cost of $15.5 billion, the airport will have an initial capacity to handle 30 million passengers per year, and its sponsors hope to expand that figure to 50 million by the time work finishes in 2020.

Oneworld is one of three major airline groupings, alongside Star Alliance and SkyTeam.