Aer Lingus Joins oneworld

Aer Lingus, today, December 2nd, 1999, has been confirmed as the ninth member of the global airline alliance - oneworld. This follows alliance agreements concluded with both American Airlines and British Airways, last week. Aer Lingus` nomination was proposed by British Airways and formally ratified at the oneworld Governing Board meeting in New York. Aer Lingus will formally commence offering oneworld services and benefits from the middle of 2000.

Aer Lingus` Group Chief Executive Garry Cullen said that membership of oneworld would ensure Aer Lingus` current customers would gain significant new benefits as a result of the co-operative agreements which take place between oneworld`s nine member airlines.

The member airlines of oneworld carry over 200 million passengers throughout a network of over 650 destinations across the globe. The member airlines are American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia and Qantas. LanChile, like Aer Lingus, has been invited to join oneworld and plans to start offering customer benefits and services in 2000.

Agreements between oneworld airlines enable customers to benefit from each members frequent flyer programme and lounges. Aer Lingus customers will specifically benefit from:

* Access to, and smoother transfers for customers travelling across the global networks of oneworld carriers.


* Better customer service support with oneworld staff trained and equipped to assist customers of all member airlines throughout the network

* Closer linking of oneworld members` frequent flyer programmes enabling customers to earn and redeem miles on any of the alliance carriers
* Access to member airlines` lounges for eligible frequent flyer club members.
Mr Cullen said that exposing Aer Lingus` customers and the Irish market to this massive global audience will reap benefits for Ireland beyond the normal tourism and commercial business markets. “One of our core aims through the oneworld alliance is to bring our range of services and our unique style to a whole range of new customers, accessed through the oneworld global network”, he said.

Speaking on behalf of oneworld members, Bob Ayling, British Airways` Chief Executive said “Aer Lingus is highly regarded as a quality carrier throughout the markets it serves. It makes an excellent addition to oneworld and we are delighted it has selected us as its global alliance”.

Mr Cullen indicated that the linking of Aer Lingus with American Airlines and British Airways through the alliance agreements signed last week was crucial in securing membership of oneworld.

He added that membership of oneworld and the agreements with airlines located throughout the globe, will provide opportunity for the development of new customer bases, the boosting of tourism traffic into Ireland through an unrivalled distribution system and the Irish business community with a network of destinations of genuinely global scale.