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Qatar Airways’ inimitable CEO Akbar Al Baker ruffled a few feathers yesterday at a major travel industry jamboree, by threatening (once again) to take Qatar out of the oneworld alliance.
Speaking at ITB Berlin, Al Baker made the following comments:
About oneworld, it was not a rumor, you heard it from me. And we have given them a breathing space to get their act together. You see when you invite somebody, you invite me, to your house, and then you tell me that I can not drink the water from the glass I have to drink from the tap, and then you tell me that we will not give you any food, we will only give you bread and water. This is not why you invited me to your house. You invited me to your house as your guest, and as somebody that you respect.
Qatar Airways is not a Mickey Mouse airline. We are the largest ASK contributor to the oneworld if you add all our investments. And if you remove those investments, we are the second largest ASK contributor to the oneworld. And if we leave oneworld we will create a big hole for them in their entire connectivity.
We are not going to be bullied by some individual who thinks that the world belongs to them. The world belongs to the world community. And we as an airline, we will demand respect, and we will not submit to anybody that is trying to bully us.
We in the matter of a month or two will give you the news if we are going to stay or we are going to withdraw. And I think it is the latter that will happen. Since the people that invited us are now constantly targeting us and our growth
If Qatar really did leave oneworld it would be a significant blow to the alliance – and to many InsideFlyer readers too I suspect! I wouldn’t worry too much just yet though, given that Al Baker as been threatening to leave for years.
What will be interesting to see is whether the stated timeline of “a month or two” for the next update turns out to be accurate. I’m not holding my breath.
On a brighter note, Qatar also released details of its new Economy product. It was never likely to be as revolutionary as the hype suggested, but it still sounds pretty good to me.
What do you think about Qatar (possibly) leaving the oneworld alliance?