OneWorld’s CEO, Rob Gurney, has pleaded for Qatar Airways to stay in the alliance, following repeated threats from Qatar’s CEO. Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar al-Baker, has been threatening to leave the alliance as he claims other airlines in the alliance are “targeting” Qatar. The threats have now been ongoing for around 2 months, with a final decision expected from Qatar by Christmas.
Since the original announcement, there have been mixed reactions from within the alliance. While IAG CEO Willie Walsh said he expected Qatar to leave, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told the airline to go if they want to. The latest news comes as American airlines expressed anger at Air Italy’s expansion into the US. This is as Air Italy is 49% owned by Qatar.
The Story So Far
The story started back towards the start of October.
- Mr Al Baker states grievances with American and Qantas;
- Al Baker hints that Qatar will become privatised;
- IAG Cheif, Willie Walsh, says Qatar is highly likely to leave OneWorld;
- Mr Al Baker issues another threat to leave OneWorld;
- Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says he doesn’t mind if Qatar leave OneWorld;
The original problem was down to the way American Airlines was treating Qatar. Mr Al Baker originally said “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”
Qatar A Terrific Airline
Now, the CEO of OneWorld, Rob Gurney called for Qatar to remain in the alliance. He gave a statement to the South China Morning Post at a recent press conference where the alliance announced its new member, Royal Air Maroc. In an interview, Mr Gurney said: “We think the alliance adds a lot of value to them. They add a lot of value to the alliance. We don’t want them to leave, but at the end of the day, this has got to work for them, it has got to work for everybody.”
Would Qatar Leave One World?
It seems unlikely. Qatar is currently being blockaded by its neighbouring Gulf states. As such, the ties the airline has with the rest of the world through the OneWorld alliance are important to avoid isolation. While Qatar’s stance is that partner airlines shouldn’t be attacking them, it is possible that the treats could be just threats to secure action. In fact, from a quote by Al Baker at the start of the drama, it seems like this could be the case. “This whole shenanigan has to stop, it has gone too far… If Qatar Airways leaves Oneworld it will send a very wrong message to the world about alliances.”
Do you think Qatar will follow through with leaving the OneWorld alliance? Let us know in the comments down below!