So Qatar Airways isn’t joining OneWorld for now…

After yesterday’s news that Qatar Airways would with near certainty be joining OneWorld, it looks like that’s not actually the case.

Per Reuters:

Qatar Airways has no plans to join the oneworld airline alliance, its Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on Sunday, dismissing reports that the airline had become the newest member of the group as “rumor.”

Asked if the carrier would join oneworld, which includes British Airways, owned by IAG, Baker said: “No, we will not. It’s all rumors.”

This is hardly surprising to me. Yesterday I outlined the reasons I thought Qatar wasn’t a good fit for OneWorld, so I guess I wasn’t too far off base.

So who’s joining OneWorld? Some speculate:

  • US Airways. While this might eventually happen, I can’t imagine that’s the upcoming announcement. I have to imagine the transition from Star Alliance would take longer than this and that we’d hear some serious rumors before this actually happens.
  • Malaysia Airlines or Sri Lankan. Both of these carriers are already expected to join OneWorld, so this would hardly be news. Then again the announcement simply said there would be a “significant membership development” on October 8, so I suppose the development could be an official join date for either of the airlines.
  • TAM. LAN and TAM merged, so the speculation has been that they’ll be joining OneWorld. This is already expected to happen, so would hardly be an exciting development (especially if they keep releasing virtually no longhaul premium cabin award space as they currently do to Star Alliance).
  • Some other super-airline. I sure would be excited if it were another airline. However in this day and age I tend to think that rumors almost always leak before a formal announcement, and aside from Qatar we’ve yet to see any reputable rumors (if that’s not an oxymoron). The most logical choice would be Emirates given the scope of their joint venture with Qantas, though in practice I can’t imagine they’d be willing to join one of the major alliances. For that matter, I doubt British Airways would be all too pleased about them joining, given that Qantas just told British Airways to pound sand in favor of Emirates. Besides, the Middle Eastern airlines present a lot of pressure to major OneWorld airlines like British Airways, given how many people they’re flying between Europe and the Middle East/Asia/Australia.

Suffice to say I’m really excited about this announcement. If the announcement is just an update on Malaysia or Sri Lankan, or an announcement on TAM I’d find it a bit anticlimactic. If it’s anything else I’ll likely soil myself be excited.

(Tip of the hat to John)

Comments

  1. Hmm, who can it be? I recently read about Virgin’s situation, the CEO is jumping ship and they made a big loss. There has been a bit of speculation that they would join an alliance to try to boost business – how ironic would that be if they joined their arch-rival’s programme? Nah, can’t really see that happening either 🙂

  2. I have always suspected WestJet might join sooner or later they already have codeshare agreements with more than one of the Oneworld members and they had showed interest in the past.

  3. WestJet actually sounds like a serious option as they just inked a codeshare with British Airways and already have agreements with Cathay and American. They had showed interest before as I said but back then it was considered that as a low cost carrier they didn’t match their business structure but things have changed now.

  4. I think you’re reading way too much into the PR-speak about “significant membership development”‘s meaning. I’d bet on an actual join date for Malaysia and/or Sri Lankan.

  5. @ RakSiam — Perhaps I am, but do the CEOs for several airlines really need to meet to announce the joining date? Seems that would be reserved for either announcements of new carriers or the joining ceremony, no?

  6. I say, it could be Hainan, Oneworld is really behind in the mainland China game. Hainan is already in bed with American, and with their lack of destinations overseas they might be a bit desperate to join an alliance get their scope a little wider

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