Qatar Airways could become a member of Oneworld by this time next year, the CEO of the global airline alliance has said.
In comments published by media in Australia, CEO Bruce Ashby said he expected by Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines to be online next year.
While Oneworld membership typically takes 12 to 18 months to finalise, Ashby told Australian Business Traveller that that Qatar is “closer to the 12-month spectrum”.
Ashby said he counts Qatar Airways as a "king-sized feather in oneworld’s cap" – because it’s the first of the three powerhouse Gulf carriers to sign up to an alliance.
“Qatar is also a really, really good fit for us” Ashby told the magazine. “They connect to a lot of places that we didn’t have a member already serving so Qatar is actually quite complementary.”
“They can carry people into a lot of points into Southern Europe and Africa where we didn’t have much presence before, and there are a lot of niches like that where they offer great value to flesh out our network.”
It was announced last October that Qatar Airways would join the global airline alliance, which allows airlines to coordinate routes and offers passengers a greater number of routes around the world.
Airline alliances, formed in the mid-1990s, offer passengers easier connections and enables them to earn frequent flier miles with the partners. Frequent flyers are also given access to business lounges at more airports as well as speedier check-in and boarding.
The Oneworld alliance, which competes with Star Alliance and SkyTeam, has eleven other carriers within its network including American Airlines and British Airways.