Hong Kong-based Dragonair is to join oneworld. It becomes the 11th airline lining up to board oneworld in 2007.Dragonair will join members elect Japan Airlines and five of its affiliates, Malév Hungarian, Royal Jordanian, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador - in the alliance’s biggest expansion programme since its launch.
Dragonair will add a total of 15 destinations to the oneworld map, 12 of them in Mainland China, giving oneworld a total of 22 points served in the country. Overall, Dragonair operates to 19 points in the Mainland with some 400 flights a week from its Hong Kong hub.
The 12 points in China it will bring on board for oneworld are Chongqing, Changsha, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Haikou, Kunming, Guilin, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shenyang, Sanya and Wuhan. Elsewhere, it will add Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Phuket (Thailand) to the alliance map. By adding Phnom Penh, oneworld will connect with one new country - Cambodia.
Dragonair’s election on board oneworld follows its integration with alliance founder member Cathay Pacific Airways in September this year. While it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, Dragonair has retained its own brand and identity, market positioning and separate “KA” flight code.
All parties are committed to bring Dragonair on board oneworld as soon as possible in 2007, immediately all necessary joining technicalities and processes have been completed.
As a oneworld affiliate, Dragonair will offer the alliance’s full range of services and benefits. This means its frequent flyers - who will all be integrated into Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club loyalty programme from 1 January 2007 - will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers. Top-tier members will have access to the 400 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance’s airlines.
Members of other oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on Dragonair. Its network will also be covered by oneworld’s extensive range of alliance fares.
Dragonair’s addition to oneworld comes as the alliance strengthens its presence in Asia Pacific considerably with Japan Airlines, the region’s biggest airline, on track to join early next year, along with its associated carriers JALways, Japan Asia Airways, JAL Express, J-AIR and Japan Transocean Air as affiliate members.
Another of Asia Pacific’s leading airlines, Qantas, is also a oneworld founder member, with its QantasLink regional operation and Australian Airlines wet-lease provider affiliate members of the group. Elsewhere, oneworld’s members currently include American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus, plus 14 affiliates.
With Dragonair, oneworld’s new recruits will expand the alliance’s network by almost 100 destinations, giving a total of some 700 destinations in almost 150 countries.
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: “Since its launch eight years ago, oneworld has been the only alliance with a member from greater China, in our Hong Kong-based founder member Cathay Pacific. The addition of Dragonair means that oneworld will maintain its lead in this important, fast-growing region. With our combination of Dragonair, Cathay Pacific and the award-winning Hong Kong hub, it means that oneworld will offer the best quality airline service for travel to or from the whole of China.”
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen said: “We are delighted that Dragonair will become an affiliate member of oneworld, offering alliance passengers greater access to various destinations in Mainland China. As one of the founder members of oneworld, Cathay Pacific recognises the value of being part of this grouping of high-quality airlines and we are sure Dragonair’s joining will add value for alliance customers and fellow member airlines alike.”
Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Kenny Tang added: “Becoming an affiliate member of oneworld is an exciting development for Dragonair and is yet another benefit to result from our joining the Cathay Pacific group. We are pleased that oneworld customers will be able to connect through Hong Kong to our extensive network of destinations in the China Mainland, along with the other business and leisure destinations we serve within the Asia Pacific region.”