Qatar Airways to join oneworld alliance: sources

LONDON Tue Oct 2, 2012 5:09am EDT

A fire crew attends to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, owned by Qatar Airways, after a fire started in the ground power unit beneath, but not a part of, the plane at the Farnborough Airshow 2012, in southern England July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A fire crew attends to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, owned by Qatar Airways, after a fire started in the ground power unit beneath, but not a part of, the plane at the Farnborough Airshow 2012, in southern England July 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Qatar Airways will become the first Gulf carrier to join the oneworld alliance of airlines with an agreement due to be announced early next week, according to sources close to the alliance.

The sources said Qatar Airways' membership of the alliance, which includes IAG's British Airways and American Airlines AMR.N, will be announced at a press conference in New York on Monday.

The announcement will be made alongside IAG (ICAG.L) chief executive Willie Walsh, American boss Tom Horton and oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby, the sources said.

Oneworld said it would not comment on speculation about a forthcoming event. Qatar Airways declined to comment.

Alliances were set up in the 1990s to help airlines take advantage of each other's marketing and traffic in the face of tightly-controlled bilateral traffic rights, but so far the Gulf carriers have refrained from joining as they build big networks.

The other two alliances are Star, which includes Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), and SkyTeam, whose members include and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and U.S. carrier Delta.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)

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