Following escalating tensions with alliance member Qantas, Qatar Airways looks to be ready to leave oneworld. While nothing is yet confirmed, The Blue Swan Daily reports that Qatar’s place could be potentially taken by China Southern Airlines, which is due to depart SkyTeam in January 2019.
Following comments made by Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker earlier this month, it would appear that the airline is intent upon departing from the ranks of the oneworld alliance. While the Gulf carrier’s exit from the group has not yet been confirmed, The Blue Swan Daily reports that Qatar’s place in the alliance could potentially be filled by China Southern Airlines.
Earlier this this month, it was announced that the Guangzhou-based carrier is set to depart the SkyTeam alliance in January 2019.
While Qatar’s potential exit from oneworld has been marked by an escalation of tensions between itself and fellow alliance member Qantas over the former’s attempt to gain a foothold in the Australian market, China Southern’s departure from SkyTeam is appears to be more straightforward.
Offering its comments on the announcement in a statement earlier this month, SkyTeam said, “China Southern’s decision reflects its strategic development, the changing trends of the global aviation industry and the evolution of alliances.”
China Southern will have been a SkyTeam member for 11 years upon its departure from the alliance.
The outlet observes that while the potential departure of Qatar Airways from oneworld is certainly worth noting, its entry into the mainland Chinese aviation market “would mean so much more.”
Further explaining, the outlet adds that, “The oneworld network in China is currently limited to the markets served by its foreign membership and dominated by the activities of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific. The potential arrival of China Southern, the nation’s largest domestic carrier and second-largest international operator, will provide oneworld with a major hub in Guangzhou at Baiyun International Airport, but also an opportunity to grow in the capital city, Beijing.”