The chief executives of the eight oneworld member airlines - Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LanChile and Qantas - today underlined their commitment to the alliance by accelerating plans to deepen working relationships between the partners, delivering more benefits for customers and adding more value for shareholders.
Their commitment was given at the latest regular meeting of the oneworld Governing Board, held today in Santiago, home base of LanChile, where they also marked the third anniversary of the alliance’s launch.
It provided the chief executives with their first opportunity to review oneworld’s future strategy since the ruling by U.S. regulators last month which led to American Airlines and British Airways withdrawing their application for anti-trust immunity across the Atlantic.
David Turnbull, deputy chairman and chief executive of Cathay Pacific and current chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, speaking on behalf of all the chairmen, said: “The ruling by the U.S. DOT was a disappointment for oneworld, but conversely it also frees us to bring forward plans to deepen working relationships more broadly right across our grouping.
“oneworld is a strong alliance, providing services that our customers value and generating substantial cost efficiencies and additional revenue for our members. We are determined to build on this success, by continuing to work harder and smarter than our rivals, developing the overall best alliance customer services and products and generating even more benefits for our members,” Turnbull said.
The chief executives revealed that talks are progressing with a number of airlines who have asked to join oneworld.
The Governing Board also reviewed the alliance’s progress against its other priorities for the year - helping its members reduce costs and build revenue beyond what any of them could achieve on their own or through individual pairings.
oneworld enters its fourth year adding more value than ever before to its members. Its eight airlines expect to benefit by almost US$1 billion this year from the various relationships between them—through revenue generation, protection and feed, and savings from joint purchasing and shared airport and city facilities.
All its member airlines will be participating in a series of developments during the coming months to build further their working relationships and introduce new benefits for customers. Details will be announced in due course.
In addition, American Airlines and British Airways have said they will endeavour to deliver as much of the customer proposition from their original proposals as they can within the existing legal boundaries.
Don Carty and Rod Eddington, chief executives of American Airlines and British Airways respectively, said, “American Airlines and British Airways are committed to each other as partners - and determined to consolidate oneworld’s position still further as the world’s leading airline alliance.”
The new developments to be unveiled in the immediate future will follow other steps taken by alliance members in recent months, including:
Major expansion of code-sharing agreements between:
American Airlines and Qantas
British Airways and Cathay Pacific
Iberia and American Airlines.
A ten-year strategic agreement signed between American Airlines and Qantas covering aircraft acquisition and other joint purchasing initiatives and more sharing of airport facilities.
The addition of TWA’s former network to oneworld as part of the airline’s integration with American Airlines, and its former regionals, now flying as AmericanConnection, adding 22 new destinations to the oneworld map.
The completion of new joint supply contracts in several key areas, achieving tens of millions of dollars of savings for all alliance member airlines in the next few years.
The opening of the alliance’s latest joint ticket office, in Buenos Aires, bringing together all oneworld airlines operating at the airport and replacing old, separate units - the sixth such move worldwide in the past year.
A significant improvement to the alliance’s IT systems that enable one airline to through-check a passenger onto a connecting flight operated by another oneworld member, eradicating the major source of faults - human error.
The linking of Finnair’s Helsinki base and Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong hub with direct flights for the first time, operated by the European carrier.
In its three years so far, oneworld has virtually doubled in size. Since American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas started offering oneworld services and benefits on Feb. 1, 1999, they have been joined by Finnair, Iberia, Aer Lingus and LanChile. Today, oneworld airlines serve 574 destinations in 134 countries and territories, wit h more than 8,500 flights every day - that’s the equivalent of an aircraft taking off or landing every five seconds around the clock.
In terms of its commitment to customer service, oneworld is widely regarded as the most innovative of the big global groupings in the development of alliance fares, with its popular, flexible and excellent value Explorer, Visit Passes and worldflyer tickets generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.