Qatar Airways Threatens to Leave oneworld

Oh, boy. Things are really getting heated with one of the big Middle East carriers. Qatar Airways, according to this Wall Street Journal article, is threatening to leave oneworld.

“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,” Mr. Al Baker said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting. American is “impeding our growth,” he said.

So, what happened?

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Apparently, American is blocking A350 access at its terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, according to Al Baker, which American responded in defense of constraints of gate space. In my opinion, gate space doesn’t seem to be hurting here, but what do I know?

Al Baker also accuses American of “[not] providing information on its bookings system to allow the proper transfer of passengers.” My guess is he’s referring to the reservations system to show connections on Qatar, when passengers book on, although it’s anyones guess.

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker on Monday told reporters that the he had met Mr. Al Baker at the event and that they chatted amicably, though they disagree over the issue of market access. “Our dispute is not with any of those three airlines; we are just trying to get the U.S. government to enforce its trade policies,” he said.


Why won’t Qatar leave oneworld?

  • Qatar owns about 10% of IAG, which is the company that owns British Airways. Why would Qatar leave the alliance of the airline they partially own?
  • Qatar needs oneworld to have a strategic difference between the other “big two” – Etihad and Emirates. For example, with the US/AA merger, they can provide connecting traffic through the Philadelphia hub to Qatar’s Philadelphia to Doha route.
  • Personally, I just think it’s all talk. But, I guess that’s never good enough of a reason. 🙂

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