Qatar Airways has today formally joined Oneworld, becoming the first of the major Gulf carriers to join one of the global alliances.

The Doha-based carrier joins after just a one-year accession period and becomes the alliance's 13th member. It is the second Middle Eastern member of Oneworld, alongside Royal Jordanian Airlines.

"We are convinced the time is right clearly right...and Oneworld is clearly the best alliance," said Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker during a joining ceremony at Doha's new Hamad International airport on 29 October.

"Alliances are playing an increasingly important role in the airline industry today, and that will continue long into the future. Becoming a member of Oneworld is one of the significant landmarks in Qatar Airways' history," he adds.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG - parent of Qatar's Oneworld sponsor British Airways - gave a resounding welcome to the carrier, notable given the historic reluctance of many European carriers towards accepting the Gulf giants.

"We have embraced [Gulf carriers] and they have demonstrated they have a significant role to play," says Walsh. "I've been a fan of what [Al Baker] has achieved here.

"We would not be here today if we did not believe it was a significant and positive development. In fact I believe it is one of the most significant and positive developments for Oneworld in a long time."

Source: Cirium Dashboard