Qatar Airways Threatening to Leave oneworld

Always take Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker with a grain of salt, he says things that are not true, he even outright denied that his airline would join oneworld the day before they.. joined oneworld.

However he is not happy with oneworld members American Airlines and Qantas, and suggests it may not make sense for Qatar to continue in the airline alliance as a result, as reported by FlightGlobal,

“This whole shenanigan has to stop, it has gone too far,” Al Baker tells FlightGobal. “If Qatar Airways leaves Oneworld it will send a very wrong message to the world about alliances.”

Oneworld chief executive Rob Gurney has asked for the opportunity to try to resolve the situation, Al Baker says. “I will wait for him to come back before deciding what to do.”

Here are his apparent beefs:

  • American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has continued to attack the airline over its investment in Air Italy, even after supposedly putting Trumpian trade disputes behind them.

    That comes after American severed its codesharing relationship with Qatar and spurned Qatar’s interest in acquiring a stake in the carrier.

    As Qatar’s CEO puts it,

    The whole idea behind an alliance is to work together to support each other like a family. But I don’t think that is any more the spirit of the alliance, especially since American Airlines is continuously targeting Qatar Airways, slandering Qatar Airways, giving misinformation to the US government about Qatar Airways. And now it is targeting our investment in Air Italy at very high level government interaction, claiming that we are cheating on the open-skies agreement that we signed with the US government.

  • Qantas is a close partner with Gulf rival Emirates (the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, has been enforcing a blockade against Qatar). That partnership has become somewhat less important over the past year. al-Baker also says that Qantas has been “blocking us getting rights into Australia.”

American, for its part and in an exercise in postmodern cognitive dissonance, says they don’t want to see Qatar leave the alliance,

American is a founding member of Oneworld and we hope the alliance’s membership remains intact.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker with Donald and Melania Trump in 2007, via Doha News

Qatar is the largest shareholder in IAG, which owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling. They also have stakes in oneworld carriers LATAM and Cathay Pacific. It seems unlikely that Qatar would withdraw from the alliance, however it’s a frequent strategy to make non-credible threats using colorful language in order to extract better agreements (as well as making offensive off-the-cuff remarks). We’re coming to learn a lot about this strategy in the U.S.

Credit: Qatar Airways

The Doha-based airline provides strong feed into India and Pakistan for those oneworld partners smart enough to benefit from it. And they frequently offer great value business class fares with the world’s best business class product (Qsuites) which you can even redeem partner miles for.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Noooooo! Love QR suites and long flights in biz are how I earn EQM and EQD for AA EXP status.

  2. say they did leave and i have award tickets booked on them thru AA…would those be safe since they are tickets already issued?

  3. @ Gary — It would be pretty stupid for QR to pull out of OW, especially given the current blockade against them. I was just looking to book QR business ATL-DOH-AUH outbound with EY apartment AUH-JFK/LGA-ATL return when I realized that QR can’t fly DOH-AUH. They’ve got issues way worse than Doug Parker.

    I guess we will need to travel to a common QR/EY city with available flights to make this work.

  4. So Qatar wants to quit OW, JAL wants an IJV with China Eastern and maybe quit OW and join ST (?), and Cathay is getting closer to Air China, so quit OW and join SA. Soon OW will have AA, BA, Finnair, IB, Sri Lankan, and Malaysian; and we will have to hear Vasu Raja crowing about how the newly started PHL Bucharest 3 times a week is minting money “we think 4 months of eastern europe is the future”.

  5. Even looking at Big Sheiko Al Baker makes me want to vomit. He has lied about the financial health of Qatar Airways for years, any wonder the others are suspicious.

    Look at the flights this mongrel has going to Australia? It’s a crazy amount. And the liar says he’s being restricted by QF. Bullshit. Imagine if QF wanted to bombard Qatar with flights, imagine the hysterics from this foul-mouthed grub.

    After what Qatar and Big Al Sheiko Baker did to the Not-Very-Privileged Club on May 27 this year, by devaluing the program overnight, without notice to it’s members, without any warning, I say fuck-off out of One World. Take up this threat to leave. Call his bluff. The guy is a liar and Qatar Airways is not worthy of inclusion in One World.

    And hey Big Al, it takes 2 to tango sweetheart. Since when has Qatar allowed One World Emerald’s into its DOH First Class Lounge? You don’t even let One World Business Class passengers or Emerald’s into the Qatar Business Lounge. You dump them into the hideous secondary lounge at DOH.

    But you come in, all guns blazing, waving your towel around like a lasoo expecting One World to be subservient to you.

    Give yourself an upper-cut dick-nose. Put a woman in charge.

  6. Parker acted like a stooge for Delta. (What else is new?)

    I don’t blame Qatar. Do you?


  7. QR does let OWE and OWS into its DOH First class and Business class lounge, but just not their better one s exclusive for its and OW premium passengers. QR has fulfilled all its OW obligation, and I don’t understand why people keeps complaining.

  8. Parker acts more like a Billie. AA should have joined *A before the US merger. BA is the pits with its pay for seats and fuel surcharge

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