airberlin to be part of oneworld from 20 March

03 February 2012

airberlin will become a full member of oneworld® with effect from Tuesday 20 March 2012, adding Europe's sixth largest carrier to the premier global airline alliance.  Austrian airline NIKI, also a member of the airberlin group, will join oneworld at the same time as an affiliate member. 

airberlin received its green light to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance, with the oneworld central team.

So from 20 March 2012, it will be offering oneworld's full range of services - and substantially expand the alliance's network in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, and throughout South and Central Europe.  It will add almost 70 destinations to the alliance's map, extending oneworld's global coverage to some 840 destinations in 150 countries, served by more than 9 000 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2 500 aircraft, carrying nearly 300 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of almost US$ 100 billion. 

Joining oneworld will strengthen airberlin's competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.  

It will become part of oneworld three months before it moves into the new Brandenburg airport at its Berlin home, which will open on 3 June with an eventual capacity for 27 million passengers a year.  airberlin and its alliance partners will be co-located at Europe's newest hub, sharing lounges and many other facilities, to offer customers there the smoothest of connections.

oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said: "airberlin makes an ideal oneworld partner. It has an excellent reputation for customer service - right in line with oneworld's focus on quality.  oneworld already features five of Europe's best airlines.  Adding the continent's sixth biggest carrier and the second largest airline based in the continent's biggest economy will greatly enhance our coverage throughout this region and, with the other airlines joining us this year, position oneworld more strongly still as the alliance of choice, particularly for global business travellers."

airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn added: "Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant departures so far for airberlin.  It will strengthen our competitive position considerably, enabling us to offer our customers a truly global network together with our partners who include some of the best and biggest airlines in the world, while enabling us also to tap into all the financial benefits that come from being part of a global alliance, through additional passenger feed and participation in various efficiency programmes.  We are very pleased and proud to be lining up to join what is clearly the world's top quality airline grouping on 20 March."

When airberlin joins oneworld on 20 March, members of its topbonus frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all oneworld partners - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and almost 20 affiliated airlines.  

Also from 20 March, the 120 million members of the established oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on airberlin and NIKI.

airberlin's network - serving more than 160 destinations in 40 countries - will be covered by oneworld's full and extensive range of alliance fares and sales products from 1 April 2012. 

Currently all oneworld's active member airlines serve Germany, flying to a total of seven gateways in there.  airberlin will add another 18 destinations in its home country.

Its alliance implementation programme has represented one of the most extensive projects in its history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity.  Projects are nearing completion to bring its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance's requirements, and extensive employee training and communications programmes are now underway at airberlin and the alliance's existing members, to ensure they are ready to provide oneworld's customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance from 20 March.

Since accepting an invitation to join the alliance in July 2010, airberlin has implemented code-sharing with seven established oneworld partners - American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Malév Hungarian Airlines, S7 and Royal Jordanian.

About airberlin

Since its launch in 1978, airberlin has grown into Germany's second largest airline - and the sixth biggest in Europe in terms of passengers boarded - after taking over Deutsche BA and LTU and gaining a 49,9 per cent stake in Austria's NIKI and a 49 per cent holding in Switzerland's Belair.

It serves 162 destinations in 40 countries, carrying more than 35 million passengers in 2011.  Its fleet comprises 170 aircraft with an average age of five years, making it one of the most modern and fuel efficient fleets in Europe, contributing towards a long-term reduction in emissions.  The group employs 9 200 staff.

It has developed from its origins in the shorthaul leisure market to cater also for business travellers with its Euro Shuttle service providing high frequency connections between many of the continent's key destinations and now also flies longhaul.

It is one of Europe's most frequent winners in the various airline industry award schemes.  It offers the full-range of services associated with a full-service network carrier, including its frequent flyer programme topbonus, and, for premium passengers, lounges, priority check-in and, for all passengers, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and meals or snacks on every departure.

On its shorthaul services, it offers a single-class cabin.  On its longhaul routes, it offers two-classes, with a premium business cabin and individual in-flight entertainment screens for each passenger.

airberlin's hubs are Berlin Tegel (moving to Brandenburg in June), Dusseldorf, Palma de Majorca and Vienna.  Among its international destinations, it serves oneworld hubs Helsinki, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Moscow Domodedovo and New York JFK.

About oneworld

oneworld is the world's premier global airline alliance.  It brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.  Mexicana is an inactive member. 

oneworld enables its members 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.   oneworld also offers more alliance fares than any of its competitors. 

oneworld currently holds three of the leading five international awards for airline alliances - named the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its GT Tested Reader Survey 2011 Awards for the second year running, the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the 2011 World Travel Awards, retaining that title for the ninth consecutive year and the World's Best Alliance in the 2011 debut Australian Business Traveller awards.