Airline alliances & the Gulf carriers: if you can't beat them, join them!

Qatar Airways' new friends

Qatar Airways' new friends

Interesting times ahead for the airline industry...While old European, Asian and American flag carriers are still adapting to the tectonic shift that the emergence of the Gulf super-connectors (plus Turkish Airlines) has represented. We start to see another wave of strategic movements.

Today it's been confirmed that Qatar Airways is joining Oneworld, while Etihad has inked a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM and Air Berlin (that despite being in Oneworld is partly owned by the Abu Dhabi carrier). And all of this with the Emirates-Qantas agreement that, although more limited in geographical scope than the three main alliances, promises to transform the Europe to Australia air travel market.

What next? A growing role for Turkish Airlines within Star Alliance? Emirates joining one of the alliances (they were talking with American Airlines' parent AMR) or creating its own alliance by striking deals similar to the Qantas one with other airlines?

What's clear is that the old saying still holds true: if you can't beat them, join them!

UPDATE: (or in this case it would rather be: "if you can't beat them, try to get them join you!)