Qatar Airways to be Oneworld member by end-2013

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Qatar Airways will be a Oneworld member by the end of this year, and aims to integrate its systems with the alliance's carriers by October.

The Doha-based carrier first announced its intentions to join Oneworld in October 2012, and had said then it would become a member within 18 months.

Qatar Airways' chief executive Akbar Al Baker says today the airline is on track to join the alliance by end-2013. "We hope to integrate our systems with the other carriers by October," he adds.

The airline will be Oneworld's second member in the Middle East after Royal Jordanian.

Despite Qatar's entry into Oneworld, the airline has no plans to invest in grounded Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines, which had its entrance into Oneworld put on hold after it ran into financial troubles. Kingfisher suspended its operations in October 2012.

Speculation has been rife that Middle Eastern carriers are looking to invest in Indian airlines, with reports tying Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways to Indian carriers such as Kingfisher, Jet Airways and SpiceJet.

"Kingfisher is a closed chapter," says Al Baker in response to questions. "It does not exist." He however declines to comment on potential investments in other Indian carriers, only saying that Qatar will invest in airlines that are well run and that will bring benefit to the carrier.

Earlier in January 2013, SpiceJet issued a statement downplaying media speculation of potential foreign investment by Qatar Airways. In September 2012, India's government relaxed ownership rules of domestic airlines by allowing foreign entities to hold stakes of up to 49%.