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Qatar Airways Threatens to Leave Oneworld as Open Skies Feud Jeopardizes “Spirit” of Alliance

Akbar Al Baker Addressing Media at Paris Air Show (Photo: Qatar Airways)

The head of Qatar Airways threatened to exit the oneworld alliance over issues stemming from its ongoing dispute with U.S. legacy carriers.

Just two years after becoming the first Arabian carrier to join one of the three international airline alliances, the chief executive of Qatar Airways says his airline may soon leave oneworld. Bloomberg reports Akbar Al Baker made the veiled threats, as well as a number of swipes at U.S. legacy carriers, Monday during a signing ceremony with Boeing at Paris Air Show.

“We are only committed to oneworld provided the spirit in which we joined oneworld exists,” Al Baker told reporters, according to Arabian Business. “If we are being cornered by an airline that invited us to be part of the alliance and is now acting against our interests … blocking inventory and blocking us gates at [John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)], of course we have no purpose to be in an alliance.”

Al Baker’s remarks were made on the heels of signing a major contract with Boeing, committing Qatar Airways to 14 firm orders for new 777. Air Transport World reports Qatar’s state-owned flag carrier agreed to purchase ten 777-8X and four 777 freighters, an order valued at $4.8 billion based on list prices.

In addition to taking jabs at American Airlines, Al Baker took the opportunity to quip at Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson as well. “I hope that the gentleman at Delta knows that we are creating even more jobs in the U.S. by ordering more airplanes,” said Al Baker.

Monday’s threat marks the second time Al Baker has publicly discussed exiting the oneworld alliance. The Wall Street Journal reports that during the 2015 annual IATA summit, Al Baker told reporters, “There is no point in us being in oneworld if an airline that invited us, hosted us in America to sign the entry to oneworld, is today going against us.”

[Photo: Qatar Airways]

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June 17, 2015

Qatar leaving OW wouldn't be such a big deal. Perhaps OW spirit will be resumed when Qatar starts providing OW benefits to elite fliers :-). Lounge access for Sapphire and Emeralds anyone? Not on Qatar's watch (at least not in the decent lounges in Doha!)

view-with-a-room June 16, 2015

Not until I have booked award travel via AA miles.

edgewood49 June 16, 2015

He has a point, on the one hand his "partner" is poking him in the eye and on the other sharing revenue, HMM The US carriers need to wake up and smell the coffee, it's a new world out there and their falling farther behind not to mention they will never win the argument on subsidies, in fact they may open that can and not be able to put the top back on, especially when the average person see's exactly what they share in "subsidies" of their own !! Oh, I am a proud American, a combat survivor as well, but as a businessman and consumer I do not fly US metal internationally. And I sure love the service, the shower on EK is a hoot.

Worcester June 16, 2015

Didn't Al Baker throw some kind of hissy fit over the delivery of the A350?

UncleDude June 16, 2015

IMHO The worst Airline for Premium Awards in OneWorld..I will not miss them. They seem to me to be all take and no give.