All set for final oneworld London Heathrow terminal switch

22 October 2009

All set for final oneworld London Heathrow terminal switch:  oneworld's biggest co-location project to date will be completed next Thursday (29 October), with the final moves of the alliance's member airlines at London Heathrow.  All Qantas' operations at the airport and British Airways' Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney services will switch then from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3.

Finnair and Iberia moved to Terminal 3 earlier this year, along with a number of British Airways' shorthaul routes.   Already based in Terminal 3 were all the other oneworld® on-line carriers - American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.  All BA's other operations are now housed in the new Terminal 5.   Terminal 3 is the closest of Heathrow's existing terminals to Terminal 5.

The project brings the operations of the alliance's eight carriers serving the airport from across all five of its passenger terminals to just two, smoothing oneworld transfer at its biggest European hub.

Terminal 3 is nearing the completion of a multi-million dollar up-grade to bring its customer facilities up to a similar standard to those offered at Terminal 5, including a new British Airways lounge facility, whose First Class suite will open when its Sydney flights move there.

Final countdown underway to Mexicana's addition to oneworld:  Member elect Mexicana will become part of oneworld on Tuesday 10 November, offering oneworld's full range of services and benefits from then.  Its subsidiaries MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink will join oneworld at the same time, as affiliate members.  For full details, see full story

Four new destinations join oneworld network in new flying season:  Four new destinations join the oneworld network in the new flying season, which starts on Sunday - offering more choices for those in the northern hemisphere to escape the winter to seaside sunshine.

The Maldives is added to the alliance's map for the first time by British Airways with an initial three round trips a week to the Indian Ocean island nation's Male capital (which has the three-letter airport code MLE) from London Gatwick from Sunday.

The other three network newcomers are all in the Bahamas - Harbour Island (ELH), Treasure Cay (TCB), and Governors Harbour (GHB) - which affiliate American Eagle will serve non-stop from Miami from 19 November with ATR42s.  The airline is also resuming its seasonal non-stops to the island's Georgetown (Exuma).

A number of other routes are being opened by the alliance's airlines to sunspots already on the oneworld network.

British Airways is to serve Sharm El Sheikh non-stop from London Gatwick from this weekend.   The Egyptian Red Sea resort is already served by Royal Jordanian.

The UK carrier is also to fly non-stop to Las Vegas from London Heathrow with daily Boeing 777s.  The Nevada entertainment capital is already served by American Airlines - as are the two other new BA destinations of Montego Bay and Punta Cana.  The British airline is to serve both Caribbean destinations from London Gatwick, also from this Sunday.

From Miami, American Eagle will serve Charleston (South Carolina) and Knoxville from 19 November, while the mainline American Airlines will serve San Juan (Puerto Rico) from Washington Dulles non-stop.

Elsewhere, Cathay Pacific joins Royal Jordanian and BA in serving Jeddah from Sunday, with an initial four Airbus A330-300s a week from its Hong Kong hub, via Dubai.

Also in Asia, Japan Airlines opens a new route between Tokyo and Beijing, with daily non-stops from the Japanese capital's Haneda from this Sunday.

BA moves three routes from London Gatwick to Heathrow:  British Airways is to move three of its London routes - serving Gibraltar, Malaga and Pisa from Gatwick to Heathrow - this Sunday.

BA's all-business flights between London City and New York take off:  British Airways has launched its new all-business flights between London City and New York JFK - the first longhaul service yet from the UK airport, the closest to the capital's financial centre.  It is offering two round-trips a day on the route, operated by two Airbus A318s, specially configured with just 32 seats that convert into fully-flat beds and with in-flight wifi access.  At London City, passengers can check-in up to just 15 minutes before departure and clear US customs and immigration westbound during a technical stop at Shannon.  Eastbound passengers are offered complimentary access on arrival to the health club at the London Marriott West India Quay to freshen up before heading into their office or continuing their journey.

Iberia's Madrid passengers can now use mobile phones as boarding cards:  Passenger flying on Iberia from its Madrid hub can now use their cell phones as boarding cards.  Checking in on-line via the airline's website, they can select for an electronic boarding pass, complete with a two-dimensional bar code to be sent to their mobile phone.  They can use this to proceed directly to the aircraft.  The service is available for all the airline's mainline flights from Madrid, apart from its Madrid-Barcelona air bridge shuttle.  It is not yet available for flights by its Iberia Regional Air Nostrum affiliate to destinations within Europe's Schengen region.  Iberia also offers the mobile phone boarding pass for passengers departing from Barcelona, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Geneva and Stockholm.

JAL ups domestic schedules from Tokyo Narita:  Japan Airlines is to add a new domestic route from its main international hub at Tokyo Narita - serving Okinawa daily from 5 January - and add third daily frequencies between Narita and both Fukuoka and Nagoya Chubu from 1 November.  From Narita, JAL also serves Sapporo and Osaka Kansai and Itami, providing convenient connections to and from its international network and those of its oneworld partners serving the Japanese capital.

Malév launches scheduled coach service to Vienna:  Malév Hungarian Airlines and AirportShuttle-Minibusz have launched a scheduled express minibus service between Budapest and Vienna's Schwechat airport. The coaches used are decorated in a Malév livery, and use MA flight numbers for their twice-daily round-trips. They already operate similar ground connections between Budapest and Slovakia's Bratislava and Košice.

American Eagle to add First Class on CRJ700s:  American Eagle, the regional affiliate of American Airlines, which is also part of oneworld, is to add a First Class cabin to its fleet of 25 Bombardier CRJ700s.  The airline has also ordered 22 more, for delivery from the middle of next year. Most of these aircraft will operate from its Chicago O'Hare hub.

Iberia Plus members can book reward flights on American and Finnair on-line:  Members of the Iberia Plus frequent flyer programme can now book reward flights on American Airlines and Finnair on-line.   They could already use their points to book travel on British Airways, LAN and Qantas on-line.  oneworld is working towards having all member airlines offer this capability, enabling their frequent flyers to book on-line flights on any oneworld carrier.

Finnair first to let frequent flyers buy ‘any time' tickets with rewards and cash:  Finnair has become the first airline in Europe to enable members of its frequent flyer programme to buy redemption tickets on any of its schedule flights using a combination of mileage awards and cash.   They can specify for themselves the proportion of money and points they want to use towards their Any Seat ticket.

BA, American and Mexicana win more awards:  British Airways, American Airlines and member elect Mexicana are among the latest oneworld carriers to win awards in the various industry honour schemes.  BA has been voted the world's best airline by readers of the UK edition of Business Traveller magazine. It also took the prize as best shorthaul airline and for best frequent flyer programme.  In the 2009 World Travel Awards, American Airlines has been voted North America's Leading Airline - and its Dallas/Fort Worth hub the region's Leading Airport.  Member elect Mexicana and its Mexico City base took the equivalent awards for Mexico and Central America. 

About oneworld:  oneworld 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 and Royal Jordanian, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.  Mexicana and its affiliate Click Mexicana will join the alliance on 10 November 2009 and Russia's S7 Airlines in 2010.

Between them, these airlines:

  • Serve almost 750 airports in nearly 150 countries, with some 8 500 daily departures.
  • Offer nearly 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
  • Carry some 330 million passengers a year.
  • Employ 300 000 people.
  • Operate almost 2 500 aircraft.
  • Generate some US$100 billion annual revenues in total.

It is the only alliance with any airlines based in Australia, South America or Asia's Middle East.

The alliance 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 was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the sixth year running in the latest (2008) World Travel Awards.   It is the only winner of this award since it was introduced in 2003.