Qatar Airways has officially joined oneworld, becoming the 13th airline to join the alliance and in the process adding 20 new destinations to the oneworld network.
At a ceremony to mark its entry into the alliance, held at Hamad International Airport, which will soon open as Qatar Airways’ new home base, the airline unveiled the first aircraft in its fleet to be decorated in a special oneworld livery, with the Boeing 777-300 becoming the first aircraft to land at the new airport. The US$15.5 billion airport is designed to strengthen Doha’s role as a global hub, with an eventual capacity of 50 million passengers a year.
The first flight operated as an alliance member was from Dhaka to Doha early morning on October 31.
However, Qatar’s entry to the alliance has not been without controversy. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has slammed the airline for what it said are discriminatory practices over female employment, labeling Qatar Airways’ membership as “disgracing oneworld”.
The global union said: “The ITF is questioning how a company that prohibits its female workers from becoming pregnant or marrying, and subjects its staff to stringent curfews and restrictions of their rights to free expression – backed up with the threat of termination and deportation – can take its place alongside leading airlines whose host countries respect international norms and conventions on human and labour rights.”
Undaunted, oneworld said with Qatar Airways joining and new members from South America soon to join, the alliance will serve almost 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures. Partner airlines carry 475 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft.