As oneworld marks its 20th anniversary, the global airline alliance has unveiled a series of major benefits for customers and airlines alike.
At the heart of the milestone is a digital revolution.
Customers flying on connecting flights on oneworld airlines will increasingly be able to check-in, obtain boarding passes, track baggage, receive flight updates and pay for additional services through their preferred airline’s app or website.
The services will be rolled out progressively from this year.
oneworld will also seek to offer even better customer experience, with branded and managed airport lounges to be rolled out at key airports, offering more space and service.
There will also be new airlines.
Royal Air Maroc is set to join the industry leading alliance in 2020, while Fiji Airways is to be fully implemented as the first oneworld connect partner next month.
The moves will increase the alliance network to 1,100 destinations in 180 territories, with more oneworld connect partners to be signed.
Finally, a new oneworld market positioning will be unveiled that is fresh, contemporary and more inclusive, reflecting the diversity of the alliance’s member airlines and their customers, with the tagline - Travel Bright.
It will include a new website.
The chief executive of oneworld member airlines met in London to unveil the transformation of the global alliance.
oneworld chief executive, Rob Gurney, said: “In the two decades since oneworld was launched, the industry and consumer behaviours have changed fundamentally.
“Most of our member airlines have undergone comprehensive restructuring.
“Some have merged.
“When oneworld first took off, hardly any airline offered online bookings.
“Smartphones were in the future.
“Social media did not exist.
“Airline fares included everything.
“Low-cost carriers were in their infancy.”
He continued: “Since then, global alliances have grown greatly in terms of membership but, to be frank, they have failed to keep pace with the changes that their members, the industry at large and the marketplace have experienced.
“At oneworld, we are making up for that.
“As we enter our third decade, we are undergoing a radical transformation, with a host of fresh initiatives to strengthen further the relevance of the alliance to our member airlines and our customers.”
The moves are designed to increase the value that oneworld delivers to customers and to its member airlines into its third decade, while reflecting the substantial changes in the marketplace and the industry since oneworld originally took off on February 1st, 1999.
oneworld governing board chairman and Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, added: “Qantas was one of the airlines that founded oneworld 20 years ago and we’ve seen it evolve into the leading alliance in the sky.
“In some ways, oneworld represents a team of rivals, given several members are direct competitors in various regions.
“For two decades it’s been able to bring together the best carriers, lounges, frequent flyer programs and networks offer people a much smoother travel experience.
“Now, as the alliance enters its third decade, we are stepping up that cooperation and modernising how we work together to make oneworld even more relevant to international travellers and to its member airlines.”
oneworld was launched by founding members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas.
Since then, they have been joined by Finnair and Iberia, on September 1st, 1999, LATAM (then LanChile) on June 1st, 2000, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian in April, 2007, S7 Airlines on November 15th, 2010, Malaysia Airlines on February 1st, 2013, Qatar Airways on October 30th, 2013, and SriLankan Airlines on May 1st, 2014.
Around 30 airlines linked to the alliance’s full members are oneworld affiliate members, offering its full range of services and benefits.
Fiji Airways was introduced as the first oneworld connect partner in December, offering a subset of the alliance’s services and benefits, and is on track for full implementation next month.
American Airlines chief executive, Doug Parker, noted: “As oneworld celebrates its 20th anniversary, we are very pleased with how the alliance is positioned – both today and for the future.
“Together, oneworld member airlines have a footprint that is far larger than American could ever have on its own.
“This additional connectivity is tremendously valuable to our customers and our team members and it is important for our business.
“We are excited about the future of oneworld and our continued partnership with some of the leading airlines in the world.”
Since oneworld was launched its members have boarded a total of seven billion customers – equivalent to today’s entire global population.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “British Airways hosted fellow founding oneworld members in London when we launched the alliance two decades ago and it is an honour to welcome this greatly expanded family back to our home city in our own centenary year to celebrate our alliance’s 20th anniversary.
“Global alliances need to evolve to remain relevant in this fast-changing industry – and that is just what oneworld is doing now.”
Find out more about the alliance on the official website.