AA boss Arpey to chair oneworld alliance

American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive, Gerard Arpey, has been nominated Chairman of the Governing Board of global airline alliance, oneworld, in succession to Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon, who has held the post for two years.Gerard Arpey will act as “first among equals” of the chief executives of the grouping’s member airlines, leading oneworld as the alliance marks the tenth anniversary of its launch, in February 2009, and as Mexicana joins the grouping as its newest member, along with its affiliate Click Mexicana, later in the year.

His tenure will come as the grouping’s transatlantic carriers hope to gain anti-trust immunity to enable them to work more closely together, enabling them to unlock more oneworld value for customers through additional services and benefits.

Geoff Dixon, who retires as Qantas CEO at the end of next week, led oneworld through the alliance’s biggest expansion in its history, with the addition in 2007 of Japan Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian and, as affiliates, four other airlines in the Japan Airlines group, plus Dragonair, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, and with Mexicana signed to join in 2009.

Gerard Arpey said, “oneworld has made an important contribution in helping our partner airlines endure a tumultuous decade while achieving the best collective profitability in the airline business. The decade to come will surely bring big challenges, so we’re going to be working even harder to make sure oneworld creates value for our member airlines, and delivers more services and benefits to our customers. With that in mind, as Chairman I am very much looking forward to welcoming Mexicana, another high quality carrier, to the oneworld team.”

oneworld comprises some of the biggest and best names in the airline industry. Other members include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian, along with around 20 of their affiliates.