aword from oneworld: January 2005

28 January 2005

Four additions take oneworld network to 600 destinations worldwide: Another four destinations are being added to the oneworldTM alliance's network, taking the number of airports served by its eight member airlines and their 17 affiliates to 600 worldwide.

Pucon is now the 18th destination served by the alliance in Chile. Some 900 kms south of Santiago, it is gateway to three national parks and one of the country's leading ski resorts. LAN links it with Santiago three times a week until the end of February.

Xiamen will be the group's third destination in mainland China when Cathay Pacific connects the city with its Hong Kong base three times a week from 28 February. It comes as its oneworld partners are also increasing their services to China (see separate story below).

Bangalorewill become the alliance's fifth destination in India when British Airways launches an initial three flights a week to and from London Heathrow from the end of March. It will also increase frequencies to Chennai (Madras) to six a week at the same time. Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are the other Indian cities on the oneworld map.

Chihuahua will be the alliance's 13th Mexican destination when affiliate American Eagle adds service between the "Lady of the Desert" and its Dallas/Fort Worth hub with Embraer 145 regional jets daily non-stop from 1 May.

 

Four new routes opened to China with plans for two more: oneworld's member airlines are increasing - or have applied to increase - their services to China, which is widely forecast to be one of the world's fastest growing aviation markets. While Cathay Pacific continues to build its Hong Kong hub into a major gateway for the region, the alliance's partners have announced plans for four new routes to the mainland this year, with approvals for two more awaited.

British Airways aims to be the third oneworld carrier to serve Shanghai. It intends to start flights between the commercial powerhouse and its London Heathrow hub during the summer, with Boeing 777s five times a week. Qantas inaugurated thrice-weekly Airbus A330-300 services there from Sydney last month. Finnair also flies there from Helsinki. American Airlines and Cathay Pacific are both also seeking rights to serve the city, while the Hong Kong carrier starts serving it with daily freighters at the end of January.

American's proposed service between Chicago O'Hare and Shanghai would greatly increase competition and customer convenience from the underserved US market. Currently, only two US-based carriers are permitted to fly to China.  Neither are oneworld partners.

Finnair, as previously announced, will link the southern city of Guangzhou with its Helsinki hub three times a week from 2 September, following Cathay Pacific's entry at Xiamen. Guangzhou will become the alliance's fourth destination in China.

Cathay Pacific has also recently increased frequencies between Hong Kong and Beijing to daily service, and has rights to double that schedule beginning in late March. British Airways will also up its services to the Chinese capital from London Heathrow, to six a week beginning in June, when its Hong Kong flights will rise to 21 a week. Finnair also serves Beijing.

American to add two Irish links: American Airlines is to launch its own flights to Ireland, home country of oneworld partner Aer Lingus. In the latest phase of its international expansion, AA will operate non-stops between its Chicago O'Hare hub and Aer Lingus' Dublin base and between Boston and Shannon, from 1 May. Both routes will operate daily during the summer peak and five days a week for the rest of the year. It will use two-class 211-seat Boeing 767-300s on the Dublin service and Boeing 757s with a single main cabin of 188 seats on Shannon. AA currently code-shares on Aer Lingus flights on both these routes and on the latter's routes to New York JFK and Los Angeles.

Iberia confirms launch dates for new Beirut and Moscow routes: Iberia has confirmed the launch dates for its new services to Beirut and Moscow. Both will be served from its Madrid hub. The Russian capital will join its network first, with daily non-stops from 13 March, operating to and from Domodedovo airport, which is also used by oneworld partner British Airways. The only other alliance member operating to Moscow, Finnair, serves its other gateway, Sheremetyevo. Beirut, which is already served by oneworld affiliate BMED operating as a BA franchise, will start receiving Iberia services from 28 March, with three flights a week. Iberia will use Airbus A319s on both routes.

Finnair and Iberia are 21st pair of partners to offer interline e-ticketing: Finnair and Iberia are the latest combination of oneworld carriers to introduce interline e-ticketing (IET), with the alliance now just weeks away from the completion of the roll-out of this service between all member airlines.

IET is now in place between 21 of the potential 28 pairs of partners. Qantas last month joined American Airlines and British Airways in completing IET links with all oneworld partners. Both Finnair and Iberia now have just two more cut overs to make with other airlines in the alliance. The Nordic carrier aims to connect with Aer Lingus and LAN in the next few weeks, with the Spanish partner planning to follow suit with Cathay Pacific and also Aer Lingus.

This keeps oneworld on track to be the first of the global alliances offering this customer convenience throughout their groupings. Already more than 90 per cent of passengers transferring between oneworld carriers can do so with just one electronic ticket.

Interline e-ticketing offers customers many advantages. It means they can be ticketed right through to their final destinations on journeys involving a transfer between carriers with no need for a paper ticket, making connections between carriers smoother, easier and more reliable. They can also rebook between airlines without having to obtain a paper ticket first, saving time and hassle.

 

AA serves up new 'food on board' options: American Airlines is to provide in-flight food in its Coach (economy) cabin on 300 more of its US domestic flights a day from 1 February. Coach passengers on domestic flights longer than three hours will be offered snacks or sandwiches for sale, rather the "bistro bags" the airline currently provides free on just some services. The change is based on extensive feedback from customers in trials carried out earlier this year. Coach customers will be able to buy for US$3 in-flight snack boxes containing a range of brand-name items. On longer flights, US$5 sandwiches or wraps will also be available. Initially, only cash will be accepted for transactions, but American is investigating the ability to accept credit and debit cards in the future. Meals in First Class will remain complimentary, although special meals will no longer be available on non-transcontinental flights.

oneworld in brief: oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus - enabling them 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. Together, its members serve 600 destinations in 135 countries. oneworld was voted the world's best airline alliance by readers of Business Traveller magazine in its 2004 poll and the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the second year running in the latest World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by80,000 travel agency professionalsfrom more than 200 countries. Note: LAN affiliate LAN ECUADOR is not a member of oneworld.

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