Qatar Airways has threatened to exit the Oneworld alliance over an on-going spat with Qantas. Australia’s flag carrier has said that the Gulf airline is using its status as a state-owned asset to unfairly expand within the Australian market. Qantas says it welcomes a healthy, but fair, competition.
Qatar Airways is allegedly poised to leave the Oneworld Alliance, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. This threat, the outlet indicates, is the latest in an ongoing spat between the Gulf carrier and Qantas over Qatar’s attempt to expand its network into Australia.
Both Qantas and Qatar are currently partners within the alliance. At present, the latter airline operates services between its main Doha hub to and from Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. The outlet reports that Qatar is now also attempting to launch services to Brisbane, but this has been met with protests from Australia’s flag carrier.
Echoing sentiments posed by the U.S.’s legacy carriers, Qantas has argued that the Gulf airline is unfairly able leverage its position as a state-owned asset to offer cut-price fares. In a staff letter seen by Australia’s Fairfax Media, Qantas is quoted as stating that, “This distorts markets and threatens the sustainable operation of international carriers to Australia. We welcome healthy competition – however it must be fair.”
Speaking at the International Air Transport Association conference in Spain earlier this month, Qatari CEO Akbar Al Baker appeared to react directly to this document. He was quoted by Bloomberg as stating, “I don’t see any point in us continuing to stay a part of Oneworld when other partners see us as a threat.”
Offering his direct comments on Qatar’s reported departure from Oneworld, Alan Joyce, Qantas’ CEO, told the South China Morning Post, “If they decide to leave, it is because it is no longer working for them. Nobody should be in an alliance where they believe its not working for them. If Qatar feel they do better outside of Oneworld, that is up to them.”