Al Baker said in an interview in London:
“My first code-share with a European carrier was with Lufthansa, but unfortunately their strategy is to kill competition,” he said. “It is to shun Gulf carriers, and I think they have lost in this very lucrative alliance chess game.”
Qatar signed up to join oneworld last week after overtures from British Airways. Qatar is expected to become a member within 18 months.
“Oneworld saw the synergies between their network and us,” Al Baker said. “They wanted a strong airline in the Gulf Cooperation Council that will give them immediate huge access to the Middle East and beyond. We fitted into this requirement and a few months ago we received an invitation and we accepted it.”
Qatar Air, the second-biggest unattached airline, was won for Oneworld one month after Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) of Australia ended a 17-year tie-up with BA in favor of a deal with Dubai- based Emirates, the top Middle Eastern carrier, and on the same day that Walsh’s European rival Air France-KLM Group (AF) agreed to start code-sharing with Gulf No. 3 Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi.