Well the week is only half-way over and it has already been a very interesting one for the airline industry. So much has happened that I figured it would be easier to just combine everything into a single post. So, here’s whats going on.
Qatar Airways has officially joined the OneWorld Alliance. The airline announced in a press conference this week that it will be joining OneWorld, one of the 3 main airline alliances of the world, the others being Skyteam and Star Alliance. OneWorld includes American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, and many other high quality airlines. Qatar is the first of the Persian Gulf Regions main airlines to join a major alliance. Full implementation into the alliance is expected to take about 1 year. Qatar will be moving to the brand new Doha International Airport next year. With Qatar joining OneWorld, passengers will be able to travel from the Gulf region to almost any part of the world with only 1 connection. OneWorld now includes flights to more than 850 destinations worldwide on 10,000 flights every day. Also this week, Qatar received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft will be transferred to Doha and put into operation very soon. The airline has an additional 30 of the type on order with options for another 30.
In other news, Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines held a joint press conference this week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Many people were expecting a big announcement regarding Delta and Alaska’s partnership and maybe a possible takeover of Alaska by Delta. The big announcement turned out to be about Delta’s planned expansion out of Seattle. Delta announced its intention to begin nonstop services to Shanghai – Pu Dong and Tokyo Haneda from Seattle. Delta will deploy its iconic 747-400 on the route to Tokyo. The airline also announced that the flights from Seattle to Paris, Osaka, and Beijing will have their equipment upgraded to newly refurbished Boeing 767-300 aircraft with lie-flat seats. Delta also announced its plans to fully renovate its amenities at the Seattle Airport, including new ticket counters and an all new Sky Club, despite the current one being redone a short while ago. Alaska and Delta will enhance their partnership by adding more code sharing on flights through Seattle.
Unfortunately for Alaska Airlines, the airline suffered a complete reservations system outage at the exact same time as the press conference with Delta. Obviously the media covering the Delta news found another story to report on. The airline was forced to cancel about a dozen flights and check in and board passengers manually. There were reports that some of Alaska’s flights were being boarded in Alphabetical Order. On the bright side, Alaska is expected to announce a huge order for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft tomorrow. There are reports circling of upwards of 50 aircraft being purchased. Alaska currently operates a fleet of older model 737′s. Stay tuned for the official announcement tomorrow.
In other-other news, Southwest Airlines started a multi-airline fare war on flights all over the country for this winter. The airline offered a code for 40% off all of its cheapest fares from most cities between 11/28 & 12/12, and 1/7 & 2/14. This sparked a fare war between many of the airlines. Dirt cheap fares across the country began popping up from AirTran, American, US Airways, and United. It looks like Delta decided to sit this one out. I was able to snag a round trip flight from Atlanta to Phoenix for just $120 round trip on US Airways. Some of the low fares are still out there but Southwest’s sale ends tomorrow night, meaning most of the other airlines will return their fares to normal then too.
I feel like this crazy week in aviation isn’t over yet, so check back later for any other new developments.