Qatar Air may boycott Oneworld meet

Qatar Airways may boycott a gathering of fellow Oneworld members in London next month amid a simmering spat with partners in the marketing alliance.

The Persian Gulf carrier hasn’t decided whether to attend the event on Feb. 1, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, adding that he has been asked to provide “an opportunity to see how they can resolve the impasse.”

Al Baker renewed a threat to abandon Oneworld in November, citing opposition from ally Qantas Airways Ltd. to his company’s expansion in Australia. Qatar Air has also had a long-running feud with American Airlines, which joined with other US carriers to argue that its partner was among Mideast airlines to benefit from illegal state aid.

The London gathering will mark Oneworld’s 20th anniversary and herald a “radical transformation” of the alliance, according to media invitations emailed on Monday. The event will be led by the heads of Oneworld’s four founding partners, IAG SA, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., American Airlines and Qantas, with six other full members also attending.

Absent from the list were Qatar Air, Latam Airlines Group SA and Royal Jordanian. Qatar has stakes in British Airways-owner IAG, Latam and Cathay, holdings Al Baker has said mean it doesn’t need Oneworld, even if those carriers stay in the alliance. (Bloomberg)