But that does not mean Emirates is not partnering at all. On the contrary, its tie-up with Oneworld member Qantas has sent shock waves through the airline industry. The fact that Qantas gave up its long-standing joint venture with British Airways and moved its Asian transfer point to Dubai from Singapore led many to assume the end of global alliances is nearing. But now that the dust has settled, and despite the emergence of more previously unheard of tie-ups, it seems alliances are here to stay.
Qatar Airways' joining of Oneworld also has a lot to do with the group's more liberal approach toward members. Additional agreements outside the alliance are not only allowed but encouraged. And Oneworld is also accommodating the strong growth of Qatar, which in many transfer markets means growing at the expense of other members. “I have always said that alliances are the way to go,” Al Baker says. In his view, the other two alliances (SkyTeam and Star Alliance) “will be knocking on [Persian] Gulf carriers' doors.” But, to no one's surprise, Al Baker believes that “they have missed the best one.”