8 OCTOBER 2012
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Rumours gaining much exposure last week indicated that Qatar Airways is about to become a member of the oneworld Alliance, joining British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, and soon Malaysia, amongst others.
What can be confirmed is that later today (Monday 8 October) oneworld is holding a press conference “to announce a significant membership development” in New York (14:00 local/19:00 BST) at which its Governing Board Chairman, American Airlines’ Chairman Tom Horton, IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh, and oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby, will be in attendance. No one will be surprised to see Qatar boss Akbar Al Baker joining them on the platform.
If this is all correct the move is a coup for oneworld, and underlines how the Gulf carriers are becoming significant players on the world airline stage. No doubt Mr Ashby will be questioned regarding Qantas’ future role within the grouping, the Australian carrier about to form a partnership with Emirates, a serious competitor to Qatar Airways in attracting connecting traffic through the Middle East.
If attending Mr Al Baker is likely to confirm that the airline has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787. He is due in London next week to speak at the Aviation Club. Arriving by Dreamliner? www.oneworld.com
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