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.