Finally, some positive news for American Airlines! It was announced yesterday that Qatar Airways will be joining the oneworld® alliance — it will take 12 to 18 months for the process to be completed. You can get the full details here.

I’m excited by this because it will give me, as an AAdvantage member, access to one of the top airlines in the world. Qatar was named Airline of the Year for the past two years by the Skytrax independent airline quality rating agency. Its premium service ranks it as one of the top three or four airlines in the world. It also has a very modern fleet.

According to their press release, “Fifteen of its destinations and three countries – Iran, Rwanda and the Seychelles – will be new to the oneworld map.” Three new countries for me!

  • Iran – let’s go visit their nuclear plants! Actually, let’s not.
  • Rwanda – no, not on my bucket list
  • Seychelles – Starwood and Hilton have some beautiful properties on these islands located north of Madagascar, east of Kenya and Somalia. I ignored them in the past since none of the oneworld airlines served the Seychelles. Now, I may look at it as a future vacation destination.

Qatar Airway’s home base is Doha: I had a short 36-hour layover in Doha a few years ago and would not mind going back for a longer stay. My wife has suggested many times that it might be a good mileage run for me, particularly if I can bring back some more jewelry for her, the prices were that good!

I welcome Qatar Airways to oneworld, and look forward to flying with them in the future.

Here is more information from the press release.

About Qatar Airways                                                   

Qatar Airways was launched in 1997 and quickly established itself as one of the world’s fastest growing and highest quality airlines.

Besides being named Skytrax’s Airline of the Year for the past two years, it is also the organisation’s Best Middle East Airline for the seventh year running and has retained Skytrax’s Five Star ranking since 2004.  Other recent awards won include Business Traveler USA’s Best Airline for International Travel and Aviation Business’ Airline of the Year 2011.

It boarded 15 million passengers in 2011, generating group revenues of US$ 6.4 billion.

Qatar Airways, which uses the two-letter code QR, has one of the world’s youngest fleets.  It currently operates 111 aircraft, with an average age of four years, including 26 Boeing 777s, four Airbus A340-600s, 29 Airbus A330s and 44 Airbus A320 family types.  It has orders and options for more than 250 more aircraft, worth more than US$ 50 billion, for delivery over the next few years. These include 13 Airbus A380-800s, 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 80 Airbus A320neos.

Qatar Airways is 50 per cent owned by the State of Qatar and 50 per cent by private shareholders.