Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is known for his outlandish and provocative remarks. Not surprisingly, he is now threatening to leave the Oneworld Alliance if American Airlines continues its support to limit U.S. access to the three major Gulf carriers, Qatar, Etihad and Emirates, according to this Star-Telegram article.
Al Baker also accuses American of acting “…against the ‘spirit’ of an alliance by failing to cooperate in areas such as inventory and aircraft parking spaces” and mentions that Qatar could even create its own mini-alliance.
There is no question that there is currently bad blood between the major Gulf Carries and the three major U.S. airlines, American, Delta and United. I do not consider these to be hollow threats from Al Baker. Not only is Qatar’s Oneworld membership potentially in danger, but American’s partnership with Etihad could also be in jeopardy as well if the rift continues.
For the sake of all of us with hundreds of thousands of American miles available hoping to redeem them at some point with Qatar or Etihad, let’s hope that American acquiesces to some of the Gulf carriers’ demands.