Qatar Airways joins oneworld

29 October 2013

  • World's premier alliance adds one of the world's most admired and fastest growing airlines

  • Only one of the major Gulf carriers to join a global airline alliance

  • Positions oneworld as leading alliance in one of world's fastest growing regions for air travel

  • Qatar Airways 777 in oneworld livery is first aircraft to ‘land' at Doha's new Hamad Airport

  • Qatar's Prime Minister joins VIPs from around the world at joining ceremony at new hub

  • Double miles promotion for frequent flyers to celebrate

  • oneworld Visit Middle East pass launched to promote travel throughout region

  • Latest landmark in oneworld's biggest yet membership expansion drive

Tuesday, 29 October 2013:  Qatar Airways becomes part of oneworld® at midnight Doha time tonight, adding one of the world's fastest growing and most highly rated airlines to the world's fastest growing and most highly rated global airline alliance. 

From its first flights tomorrow morning – QR633 which leaves Dhaka for Doha at 03.15 local (00.15 Doha time) and the QR1166 from Doha for Riyadh, leaving five minutes later at 00.20 Doha time – Qatar Airways will be offering oneworld's full range of services and benefits. 

It joins oneworld just one year after receiving its invitation to join, which makes its induction into oneworld one of the fastest in the alliance's history.  A more typical timeline for an airline to comply with the many membership requirements of oneworld is 18-24 months.

For Qatar Airways, joining oneworld marks the latest achievement in its 16-year history.  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 major Gulf carriers to join any of the global airline alliances. 

Becoming part of oneworld, which holds more "best alliance" awards than any of its competitors, will strengthen Qatar Airways' competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners that include leading airlines from every region.

Qatar Airways, which serves more than 130 destinations in 70 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australasia, is oneworld's second member airline based in the Middle East.  It makes oneworld the leading alliance in one of the world's fastest growing regions for air travel demand.

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.

Worldwide, with 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 475 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft.
  • Generate US$ 140 billion annual revenues.

Qatar Airways 777 in oneworld livery is first aircraft to ‘land' at Hamad International Airport

At a ceremony to mark its entry into oneworld, held at Hamad International Airport, which will open soon as Qatar Airways' new home base, Qatar Airways spectacularly "unveiled" the first aircraft in its fleet to be decorated in a special oneworld livery – with the Boeing 777-300 becoming the first aircraft to "land" at the new airport.

The state-of-the-art US$ 15.5 billion Hamad International Airport is designed to strengthen Doha's role as a premium global hub.  The new airport has an eventual capacity for 50 million passengers a year.

Under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Qatar His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the ceremony was hosted by Qatar Airways' Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker and attended by the CEOs and senior executives from all other oneworld member airlines, including:

  • Chief Executive of IAG, the parent company of oneworld's British Airways and Iberia and also of Vueling, which is not part of the alliance, Willie Walsh.

  • oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby.

  • Finnair's President and Chief Executive Pekka Vauramo.

  • Japan Airlines' Chairman Masaru Onishi.

  • Malaysia Airlines' Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

  • Member elect SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe and Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena.

  • airberlin's  Senior Vice-President Alliances Stephan Nagel.

  • American Airlines' Vice-President Strategic Alliance Kurt Stache.

  • British Airways' Director of Strategy and Business Units Lynne Embleton.

  • Cathay Pacific Airways' Director of Sales and Marketing Rupert Hogg.

  • Iberia's Director of Alliances Antonio Pimentel.

  • LATAM Airlines Group's Vice-President Strategic Alliances Soledad Berrios.

  • Qantas' Chief Executive Loyalty Lesley Grant.Royal Jordanian's Chief Commercial Officer Basma Majali.

  • S7 Deputy Chief Executive for Strategy Vadim Besperstov.

As they assembled, the 777-300 in its oneworld livery flew overhead before landing and becoming the first aircraft to taxi onto a stand in front of Hamad International Airport's terminal building. 

Its distinctive design features "oneworld" in blue letters some 6 ft (2 metre) high along a white fuselage and the airline's standard tailfin, serving as a huge flying billboard highlighting that Qatar Airways is now offering the full range of oneworld services and benefits.  The airline will decorate three other aircraft in its fleet in this special livery – another 777 and two Airbus A320s.

They will spearhead a massive marketing drive to promote the airline's addition to the alliance.  Starting tonight, oneworld logos will be applied by the side passenger entrance doors on Qatar Airway's entire fleet of 130 aircraft as part of a massive rebranding programme that will also see the alliance logo added virtually wherever the Qatar Airways name is displayed – at airport check-in desks and signage, on its website, tickets, boarding passes and all items of stationery.

Qatar Airways' addition to oneworld tonight will be promoted with of one of the biggest marketing campaigns in the airline's history, too, with an extensive advertising campaign to highlight the new alliance services and benefits available to its customers.

All cardholders in its Privilege Club frequent flyer programme are being sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo and "gemstone" tier indicator, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from tomorrow when travelling throughout the entire oneworld global network.

Qatar Airways' entry into oneworld completes what has been one of the biggest projects in the airline's history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity, bringing its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance's requirements, and running extensive employee training and communications programmes.  British Airways has been supporting Qatar Airways through its alliance implementation project, as its oneworld sponsor airline, with backing from the central oneworld team.

Since accepting its invitation to join the alliance a year ago, Qatar Airways has expanded its code-sharing relationships to two established oneworld partners – American Airlines and Malaysia Airlines

  • Qatar Airways will be screening live coverage of its joining ceremony from 1000 and 12 noon Doha time (0700 and 0900 GMT/UTC) via, with edited highlights to be posted later today.

‘Double miles' offer to frequent flyer members to celebrate

The 3 million members of Qatar Airways' Privilege Club loyalty programme will from midnight tonight enjoy the full range of oneworld frequent flyer benefits when travelling with any oneworld member airline worldwide – airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and their 30 affiliated airlines.

Privilege members will be able to earn and redeem Qmiles on any oneworld flight. In celebration of the airline's addition to the alliance, they will receive double Qmiles award miles when flying on Qatar Airways' oneworld partners between 15 November and 31 January (except between 20 December and 5 January).

Privilege Club members will also receive 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 midnight tonight, Privilege Club Platinum and Gold members will be able to access more than 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines when they fly with one of the alliance's carriers – five times more than they can use up until now. Qatar Airways' First and Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges. 

As oneworld Emeralds, Privilege Club Platinum cardholders will be able to use First Class lounges, where available – and receive an additional baggage allowance and access fast tracks through departure security at select airports.

Also from midnight tonight, the 140 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 when flying on Qatar Airways.

To celebrate the addition of the new recruit to oneworld, members of established member airlines' loyalty programmes will receive double the normal mileage awards when flying on Qatar Airways between 15 November and 31 January (except between 20 December and 5 January).

New oneworld Visit Middle East pass to encourage tourism throughout the country

To encourage travellers to visit Qatar Airways' home region, the alliance today launched its new oneworld Visit Middle East pass, offering attractive flexible fares on flights within the region bought in conjunction with a flight on a oneworld carrier to the region. Besides flights on Qatar Airways it includes all other oneworld schedules within the region, including sectors on Royal Jordanian, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.  

These new fares will be available for sale from Friday (1 November) – when Qatar Airways' global network will be covered by oneworld's full, market-leading range of alliance fares and sales products.   

• For details of oneworld Visit Middle East, see separate news release.

Latest landmark in oneworld's biggest yet membership expansion drive

The addition of Qatar Airways represents the latest landmark in oneworld's biggest membership expansion yet.  Other elements elsewhere in the world include:

  • The addition of Malaysia Airlines, one of this industry's most frequent award winners, eight months ago, further strengthening oneworld's position in South East Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for air travel demand.

  • The induction on 1 October 2013 of LAN Colombia, the second largest airline in South America's second biggest economy.

  • The transition to oneworld on 31 March 2014 by TAM, the leading airline in Latin America's leading economy, Brazil, with its Paraguayan affiliate to be added soon afterwards.   This will complete the consolidation in oneworld of all the passenger carriers in LATAM Airlines Group, the region's leading airline company, building on oneworld's position as the leading global airline alliance serving 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.

  • The proposed switch by US Airways from Star to oneworld as part of its planned merger with American Airlines, subject to necessary approvals.

What the CEOs said

Qatar Airways' Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: "Alliances are playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry today – and that will continue long into the future.  Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Qatar Airways' history.  It will strengthen our competitive offering and give our customers what they fully deserve – more choice across a truly global network served together with airline partners who include some of the best and biggest in the world. 

"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 join any of the global airline alliances – and we are proud to become part of what is clearly the world's top quality airline alliance, oneworld."

IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh added: "In Qatar Airways, oneworld is pleased to welcome another great airline that enhances the alliance's network and product offerings in one of the world's fastest growing regions for air travel demand.  Qatar Airways' excellent reputation for customer service mirrors oneworld's own focus.  British Airways is delighted to have supported Qatar Airways throughout its oneworld joining process and we wish it, its customers and employees a warm welcome on board."

oneworld Chief Executive Bruce Ashby stated:  "oneworld aims to be the first choice alliance for the world's frequent international travellers – with an unrivalled collection of quality carriers, delivering unmatched benefits to customers and to member airlines alike.  Qatar Airways' addition as our second member airline in the Middle East makes oneworld the leading alliance in what is one of the world's fastest growing regions for air travel demand.

"oneworld is delighted to be the only global alliance to welcome on board one of the major Gulf carriers, enabling us to be the only global alliance to offer consumers the services and benefits offered by both a global alliance and a Gulf carrier. Our own analysis clearly demonstrated that Qatar Airways is the best fit for oneworld's network, requirements, philosophy and strategy." 


oneworld Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby cardholders departing from Doha on other oneworld member airlines or flying Economy Class on Qatar Airways will be able to receive the privileges and benefits to which they are entitled - access to premium check-in facilities, lounges, etc., as appropriate - at Doha's main passenger terminal.  Facilities at Qatar Airways' Premium Passenger Terminal at its Doha hub will continue to be accessible only by customers holding First Class or Business Class tickets on Qatar Airways. 

Logos, photographs and video

Logos and photographs for oneworld, Qatar Airways and the alliance's other member airlines can be downloaded in high resolution print quality format from    Photographs from today's joining ceremony will be available from

Video webstreams from today's joining ceremonies can be viewed at  from 1000 and 12 noon Doha time (0700 and 0900 GMT/UTC) with an edited highlights package from the day available at that web address soon.

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.

It was named Skytrax's Airline of the Year for 2011 and 2012 and runner-up for 2013.  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 plus destinations worldwide it serves are oneworld hubs:  Amman, Berlin Tegel, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Chicago O'Hare, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Melbourne, Miami, Domodedovo, New York JFK, Osaka Kansai, Tokyo Narita, the Sao Paulo base of member elect TAM and the Colombo home of oneworld member elect Sri Lankan 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 more than 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 six 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, Best Airline Alliance in Business Traveller's 2013 awards, 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.