Japan Airlines (JAL), together with Malév and Royal Jordanian will start offering oneworld services from April 1, 2007 in the biggest expansion of the airline alliance since its launch eight years ago.Japan Airlines was the largest airline in the world not aligned to a multilateral global alliance until it lined up to join oneworld. It is the biggest carrier in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the top airlines in the world on any count. On virtually every measure, it becomes one of the biggest three airlines in oneworld.
Five other members of the JAL Group will join oneworld alongside Japan Airlines on the same day, as affiliates - JALways, Japan Asia Airways, JAL Express, J-AIR and Japan Transocean Air.
With its five oneworld affiliates, it will add nearly 50 destinations to the alliance network - almost 40 of them in Japan, and the rest in China and elsewhere in Asia. JAL will bring one new territory onto the oneworld map, in Guam.
From April 1, 2007 some 20 million frequent flyers from JAL, Malév and Royal Jordanian will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers. This includes the more than 19.5 million members of the JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) frequent flyer programme, 75,000 members from Malév’s Duna Club, and the 90,000 members of Royal Jordanian’s Royal Plus.
Top-tier members (Emerald and Sapphire) will also have access to the 400 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance’s airlines.
Eligible members of these three programmes will soon be sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from April 1, 2007.
From the same date, members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on these new recruits, whose networks will also be covered by oneworld’s extensive range of alliance fares and sales products.
Also on April 1 2007, as previously announced, Aer Lingus will withdraw from oneworld, with its focus on low fare point-to-point passengers no longer in line with oneworld’s strategy of providing services for premium, multi-sector, frequent, international travellers.
Three other airlines are lining up to become part of oneworld in 2007 - Dragonair, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, all as affiliate members. Joining dates for these three carriers will be announced in due course.
These overall changes in membership will expand the size of the alliance substantially, to:
- Almost 700 airports, around a hundred more than now.
- Nearly 150 countries.
- 9,000 daily departures, a thousand more than today.
- Around 315 million passengers, 65 million more than at present.
- 265,000 employees.
- Almost 2,500 aircraft.
- US$85 billion revenues, up by a third.
JAL Group Chief Executive Haruka Nishimatsu said: “We are delighted to announce that JAL will become a member of oneworld on April 1. By joining hands with the alliance’s nine other world-class airlines, we will be able
further to strengthen the quality of our products and services, providing our customers with greater convenience, comfort, value and choice throughout the alliance’s comprehensive global network. Our strong market presence in Japan and elsewhere in Asia will enable us to take a leading role in oneworld’s strategy, and significantly enhance the competitiveness of this leading quality global alliance.”
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: “Adding Japan Airlines, Malév and Royal Jordanian represents oneworld’s biggest expansion since the alliance was launched eight years ago today. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them and their customers on board from 1 April. Their addition will broaden our network coverage in three of the fastest growing regions for air travel and further strengthen oneworld’s position as the world’s leading quality airline alliance.”
Work is well advanced in linking up the IT systems of the recruits to those of oneworld’s established members, and to bring their various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance’s requirements, to enable them to offer the alliance’s services and benefits from the start of April 1.
Of the 24 interline e-ticketing (IET) links required to enable passengers to transfer between their flights using just electronic tickets, without the need for a traditional paper ticket, only three remain to be cut over. Malév already offers (IET) with all the other oneworld members. The three outstanding IET connections will be completed in the coming weeks.
oneworld has been the only alliance with interline e-ticketing (IET) between all of its partners since April 2005.
JAL, Malév and Royal Jordanian have already joined the alliance’s Global Explorer round-the-world fare product, which already included some other carriers which are not part of the alliance. They will have the alliance’s full range of alliance fares and sales products extended to them on April 1.
American Airlines and Cathay Pacific last month transferred from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 at JAL’s main international hub Tokyo Narita, where they now operate alongside the Japanese airline. Qantas was already based there and Finnair will join the in the coming weeks. This represents the alliance’s biggest consolidation project in the Asia-Pacific region, substantially smoothing and speeding connections for passengers transferring there between these airline’s flights.
Massive employee training and communications programmes are now underway at the recruits and the alliance’s existing members, to ensure that their staff worldwide are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance from April 1.
The three airlines will be oneworld’s first new recruits for more than six years. In the interim, the alliance’s focus was on helping its member airlines weather the worst financial crisis the industry has faced. Its success in this is reflected in the fact that oneworld is the only alliance whose members collectively achieved a profit in their latest full financial years - of US$1.8 billion net, while SkyTeam members lost nearly US$5 billion and Star’s plunged more than US$20 billion into the red.
The oneworld alliance enables its member airlines to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.
Its established members comprise American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN and Qantas, plus their dozen affiliates.
oneworld was voted the World’s Leading Airline Alliance for the fourth year running in the 2006 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170,000 travel professionals, including more than 110,000 travel agents in 200 countries.