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Qatar Airways to join oneworld on 30 October 2013

Qatar Airways will become a full member of oneworld® with effect from Wednesday 30 October 2013, adding one of the world's fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the world's leading quality airline alliance.

One of just seven carriers worldwide rated five-star by the Skytrax airline quality agency and the organisation's Airline of the Year 2011 and 2012 and runner-up 2013, Qatar Airways is the only one of the "Gulf Big Three" carriers slated to join any of the global airline alliances. 

It received clearance to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness, conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring Qatar Airways' entry into the alliance, with oneworld's central team.

Qatar Airways completes its oneworld implementation programme just one year after receiving its invitation to join, announced at a press conference in the alliance's New York home in October 2012.  This will make its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance's history.  Normally it takes around 18 months for any airline to be readied to enter any alliance.

Qatar Airways' addition to oneworld will come shortly before the airline moves into its new home base, Hamad International Airport, which has been designed to strengthen Doha's position as a premium global hub, with an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.

>From its first flights on Wednesday, 30 October, Qatar Airways will offer oneworld's full range of services and benefits.

>From then, the 3 million members of Qatar Airways' Privilege Club loyalty programme will enjoy frequent flyer privileges whenever they fly with any oneworld member airline, which include leading brands from each global region - airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and some 30 affiliated airlines.  This includes earning and redeeming Qmiles for awards and earning Qpoints for tier status when flying with all these airlines.

 Privilege Club Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld programme.  Privilege Club Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Privilege Club Silver will be oneworld Ruby.

>From 30 October, Privilege Club Platinum and Gold members will  be able to access 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines when they fly with one of the alliance's carriers.  Qatar Airways' First and Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges. 

Also from 30 October, the 130 million members of the established oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on Qatar Airways. 

Qatar Airways is already participating in Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and various airlines that are not part of the alliance.  When it becomes part of oneworld, Qatar Airways' network - serving 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia - will be covered by the full and extensive range of oneworld fare and sales products.

More than 20 of its destinations and five countries - Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania - will be new to the oneworld map. More significantly, Qatar Airways will substantially strengthen the alliance's customer offering by providing superior routing alternatives across many hundreds of city pairs.  For example, passengers flying between Asia and Southern Europe or between Asia and Africa will now have convenient one-stop connections not previously available within the oneworld network.

Its implementation, making oneworld the leading alliance in the Middle East region, comes as the group undergoes the biggest expansion in its history with:

  • The addition of Malaysia Airlines, one of this industry's most frequent award winners, six months ago, further strengthening oneworld's position in South East Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
  • The switch in the second quarter of next year to oneworld from the Star Alliance by TAM, the leading airline in Latin America's leading economy, Brazil, along with its Paraguayan affiliate, following the addition to oneworld on 1 October 2013 of the newest member of the LAN group, LAN Colombia, solidifying oneworld's position as the leading alliance in Latin America.
  • The introduction early next year of SriLankan Airlines, as the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any global alliance, which, with Qatar Airways, will make oneworld the leading alliance in the region.

In addition, US Airways proposes to switch from Star to oneworld as part of its planned merger with American Airlines, subject to necessary approvals.

With Qatar Airways and the other airlines lining up to join, oneworld will:

  • Serve almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.
  • Carry 480 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of almost 3,500 aircraft.

Generate US$ 140 billion annual revenues.

Qatar Airways' oneworld implementation programme has represented one of the most extensive projects in the airline's 16-year history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity.  Projects are nearing completion to bring its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance's requirements, and extensive employee training and communications programmes are now underway at Qatar Airways and the alliance's established members, to ensure they are ready to provide oneworld's customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance from 30 October.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said:  "In Qatar Airways' relatively short history, we have quickly established a reputation for innovation, quality and excellence in everything we do.  We are pleased to build on that by becoming the only major airline from the Gulf to date to be joining any of the global airline alliances.  We are proud to entering the best of them, in oneworld - and to be doing so in record quick time.  We very much look forward to flying alongside some of the best airlines in the world from 30 October, bringing the heightened benefits offered by oneworld to our customers."

oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said:  "Quality has always been the hallmark of oneworld, so we are pleased to be adding to our alliance another of the world's highest quality airlines, in Qatar Airways.  oneworld aims to be the first choice alliance for frequent international travelers the world over.  Qatar Airways will significantly improve our connectivity between many of the destinations that are most important to those customers.  We look forward to welcoming it and its customers on board the world's leading airline alliance." 

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About Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways was launched in 1997 and quickly established itself as one of the world's fastest growing and highest quality airlines. 

Besides being named Skytrax's Airline of the Year for the past two years, it is also the organisation's Best Middle East Airline for the seventh year running and has retained Skytrax's Five Star ranking since 2004. 

Qatar Airways, which uses the two-letter code QR, boarded 17 million passengers in 2012.  Its 130-aircraft fleet is one of the world's youngest, with an average age of four years, including the world's newest passenger jet, the Boeing 787.  It has orders and options for more than 250 new aircraft for delivery over the next few years, including 13 Airbus A380-800s, 80 Airbus A350s, 52 more Boeing 787s and 80 Airbus A320neos.

Among the 130 destinations worldwide it serves are oneworld hubs Amman, Berlin Tegel, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Melbourne, Moscow Domodedovo, New York JFK, Osaka Kansai, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, the Sao Paulo base of member elect TAM and the Colombo home of oneworld member elect SriLankan Airlines.

It already code-shares with oneworld members American Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.

About oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of the world's leading airlines, committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers.  Its member airlines work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience, with special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network. Top tier cardholders (Emerald and Sapphire) enjoy access to some 550 airport lounges. The most regular travellers (Emerald) can also use fast track security lanes at select airports and extra baggage allowances.

oneworld is currently the holder of five leading international awards for airline alliances - named World's Best Airline Alliance in the 2013 World Airline Awards by the independent Skytrax airline quality ratings agency, the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its GT Tested Reader Survey 2012 Awards for the third year running, the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the 2012 World Travel Awards for the 10th year running, Australian Business Traveller Best Airline Alliance in 2012 for the second year running, and FlightStats Airline Alliance On-Time Performance 2012 winner, in what was believed to have been the first time a punctuality award has been presented to any global airline alliance.

Two established oneworld member airlines currently serve Qatar Airways' Doha home - British Airways from its London hub, and Royal Jordanian from its Amman base - along with member elect SriLankan, from its Colombo hub.  

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