Several new airlines could join the Oneworld alliance as the group seeks to swell its numbers to close the gap against rivals SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
Oneworld currently has 14 airlines as full members – the most recent being Royal Air Maroc in 2020 and Alaska Airlines in 2021 – with SkyTeam at 18 and the dominant Star Alliance group at a thundering 26.
Oneworld chairman and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says he is already in discussions with several airlines, including Oman Air, "because it is my duty towards my members to grow our alliance."
"I've been talking to several (airlines) to become part of Oneworld," Al Baker tells Executive Traveller, adding that "collectively you are always strong."
Despite the close proximity of Oman and Jordan to Qatar – the nations flank either end of the Arabian Peninsula – Al Baker says "even if (airlines) are in the same area, there is so much opportunity."
"For example, we work very closely with Royal Jordanian, we code-share with them, we have grown our business tremendously, and we see that there is still room to include others."
Boosting the Oneworld brand
Beyond growing the Oneworld roster, Al Baker also wants to increase awareness of the alliance itself, beginning with ensuring that current members are waving the flag.
"My job is to continue the good work my dear friend Alan (Joyce) has already done for Oneworld," Al Baker said, in a nod to the Qantas CEO who was his predecessor from September 2018 to May 2021.
"I would like Oneworld to continue to be more prominent, to be very visible, and we want the brand to be really recognised... when you look at what we in Qatar Airways are doing for Oneworld, I want all the other airlines to do the same."
"Every single branding of Qatar Airways, you see there is (also) a Oneworld logo. Every staff in our aircraft have to wear the Oneworld badge. On all print material, we have the Oneworld badge."
"We want it to be recognised as a brand that has quality airlines. We have the IAG Group, we have Cathay Pacific, we have a lot of very well-branded airlines, so we want to promote the brand and keep on growing it."