There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not Qatar will leave the One World Alliance.
If you’re not caught up, Qatar wants to leave One World and become their own independent airline again. They themselves say that they can’t wait to leave, claiming that a bitter letter from Qantas is the catalyst as well as hostile market actions by other members of the alliance (Like American Airways). Qantas, of course, says they don’t mind at all.
Qantas and Emirates have been very snug together, despite the fact that Qantas is officially partnered with Qatar, Emirates rival. Emirates is not part of Oneworld.
But recent investigatory journalism from Alex Macheras at Aviation Analyst has revealed that Qatar might be planning something far bigger.
Their own ‘Mega Air Alliance’.
Is this for real?
At first, it sounds like a classic Bender joke from Futurama (“I’ll go make my own spaceship, with blackjack!”, but the CEO of Qatar couldn’t be more than serious.
“Qatar Airways will be interested in other investments soon that will give us even more synergies to make our own alliance of this group.” – Al Baker to Aviation Analyst
And by investments, Qatar means the investments that they have made in other airlines. With these investments, Qatar could politically convince them to join their new alliance.
Who would join the new alliance?
First, let us have a look at who Qatar is currently invested in:
• 20% of IAG group – British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, LEVEL and Vueling – 546 planes + 291 on order
• 49% of Air Italy – 17 planes + 47 on order
• 10% of Latam (Group) Airlines – 287 planes + 22 orders (not including subsidiaries)
• 10% of Cathay Pacific – 128 planes + 42 orders
If they all left their current alliance and joined Qatar, they would create a massive new airline block. is a huge The new fleet would be (with Qatar’s 224 jets + 194 on order):
1202 planes + 596 on order.
To compare, Oneworld has a current fleet size of 3,553 jets. If Qatar left (with their investments) it would fall to 2351 jets. For comparison’s sake, Star Alliance has 4,657 jets and Sky Team 3,054 jets.
Whilst that does not sound too bad, remember its also about coverage, not just capacity.
If Oneworld lost Qatar & Co (I sure do hope that’s the new name) they would only be made up of the following members:
• American Airlines – America
• Finnair – North Europe
• Japan Airlines – North Asia
• Malaysia – South East Asia
• Qantas – Australia
• Royal Jordanian – Middle East
• SriLankan Airlines – South East Asia
• S7 Airlines – Russia
There would be no carrier for West Europe, Gulf Region, Central America, the entire South American continent, the even bigger African continent, and central Asia. Poor little Royal Jordanian will seriously need to pick up the slack with their 24 planes to compete in that region with Qatar!
Qatar + Co, however, would be able to reach Europe and Asia perfectly, have access to all Australian cities and dominate Africa and South America. They would only have some trouble with America, but it’s no secret that Qatar is looking to invest there as well.
Here is a mess or mockup of a route map that I put together for Qatar & Co.
Plus, don’t forget that all these airlines are their own brands and can form codeshares with hundreds of other airlines.
Could Qatar actually do it?
Now for the actual question of whether or not Qatar could actually do it…
“Qatar Airways could use its financial presence in other carriers to secure and strengthen partnerships across the globe that would in turn reduce the effects of leaving the oneworld alliance, and result in a new ‘alliance’ of global airlines — many of whom are oneworld alliance members, and would be able to offer passengers the same flexibility and benefits outside of the alliance.” – Alex Macheras.