Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al Baker, speaking at the Arab Air Carriers Organization annual meeting in Algiers, said he “considered joining Emirates [Airline] to create a mega-carrier” before being invited to join the Oneworld alliance.

Al Baker said the two airlines would have been able to take advantage of “so many synergies,” while operating networks that were at least partially complementary.

“Unfortunately, that dream of mine did not come true, but we then got invited to join Oneworld,” Qatar’s top executive added.

According to al Baker, the political environment is not ready to accept one of the three big Gulf carriers acting as a consolidator like Europe’s International Airlines Group. He warns, however, that international rivals eventually will have “serious antitrust issues” if they continue to block traffic rights for Gulf airlines.

“Huge antitrust litigation will come because you cannot do this,” he said without elaborating.