Qatar Teases That It Could Leave Oneworld Within 2 Months
Qatar Airways' Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker doubled down on his word that the airline could leave the Oneworld Alliance. And, the final decision could come sooner than expected.
During a press conference at ITB Berlin on Wednesday following the unveiling of Qatar's new economy seat, Al Baker said that the carrier will make its final decision on whether or not to leave the alliance within the next two months.
"In the matter of a month or two, we will give you the news if we are going to stay or withdraw [from Oneworld]," Al Baker said. "I think it is the latter that will happen."
Since 2015, Qatar has threatened to leave Oneworld, though that tone has come in spurts. More recently, as of October 2018, Al Baker's harsh exit words have hit stronger and more often, as he's doubled down on his stance that the Middle Eastern carrier will depart.
During Wednesday's press conference, Al Baker insinuated that the carrier will leave, and when it does, it'll have a lasting affect on the state of the alliance.
"If we leave Oneworld, we will create a big hole for them in their entire connectivity," Al Baker said.
Al Baker's voiced his frustration with certain members of the alliance — specifically, though not explicitly mentioning, American Airlines and Qantas — for not treating Qatar with the same respect as the other members.
"We have given them breathing space to get their act together," he said. "As an airline, we will demand respect and not submit to anybody trying to bully us."
By the sound of it, things haven't improved and Qatar could soon see its way out of the alliance. If it does indeed leave Oneworld, the move could have negative consequences for American Airlines and British Airways flyers who have long earned AAdvantage and Avios miles, as well as elite-qualifying credits when flying with Qatar.