Oman Air seeks oneworld alliance membership

A Qatar Airways plane takes off at Hamad International Airport, as the country resumes international flights to Saudi Arabia, in Doha, Qatar January 11, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

DUBAI, Sept 26 (Reuters) - State-owned Oman Air announced on Sunday its intention to apply to join the oneworld global airline alliance and said it had asked fellow Gulf carrier and member Qatar Airways to help it.

Oman Air said it had approached Qatar Airways, whose chief executive Akbar Al Baker is the chairman of the airline group, for guidance in making its application.

"As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever," the airline said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"This will provide us with excellent global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests."

A oneworld spokesman said the alliance was at any time in talks with prospective members but that it did not comment on specific airlines.

"As airlines recover from COVID-19, alliances will become more important by providing global connectivity, as airlines reshape their networks, many with reduced fleets when compared to their pre-COVID size," the onewolrd spokesman said.

A Qatar Airways spokesperson earlier referred comment to oneworld.

There are 14 airlines in the oneworld alliance, including Qantas, American Airlines and British Airways.

Qatar Airways holds direct and indirect stakes in three oneworld members, including British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Oman Air flies to 34 destinations, which it says will increase to 44 next year. It has 47 aircraft in its fleet with 32 jets in operation.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Barbara Lewis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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