Qatar Airways has joined the Oneworld aviation alliance, making it the first of the three major Gulf region air carriers to enter such a global collaboration. The airline company joins Oneworld a year after receiving its invitation. The timeline for an airline to typically comply with the many membership requirements of Oneworld is between 18 to 24 months. Aviation alliance members normally coordinate their flight plans and services with each other.

The code-sharing agreement will also enable member-airlines to offer flights of a partner under their own name. Oneworld is currently the third largest aviation alliance with 13 elite airlines and some 30 affiliates.

Two of the other major Gulf carriers, Emirates and Etihad, have not joined any such alliances. Qatar Airlines’ entry into Oneworld will help member-airlines to expand its network further in the Middle East, Indian Sub Continent and African countries. More than 20 of its destinations and five countries—Ethiopia, Iran, Rwanda, Serbia and Tanzania – will be new to the Oneworld map.

Speaking on the occasion, Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said that alliances played an increasingly important role in the airline industry today and that would continue long into the future. Becoming a member of Oneworld would strengthen the airlines competitive offering and “give our customers what they fully deserve.”

(The correspondent was in Qatar at the company’s invitation)

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