aword from oneworld: March 2005

24 March 2005

Australia's Illawarra to come on line as alliance's 603 destination: Australia's Illawarra is to join the oneworldTM  network, with affiliate QantasLink launching services to the regional airport, at Albion Park, from Melbourne from May. Subject to final regulatory approvals, it will operate seven flights a day on the route, using 36-seat Dash 8s. Illawarra, with the three-letter code WOL, is the gateway to the New South Wales south coast. It will be the 50th destination served by QantasLink - and the 603rd on the oneworld map.

Cathay Pacific adds Xiamen as third oneworld destination in China mainland: Xiamen has joined the oneworld network as the alliance's third destination in mainland China, with Cathay Pacific launching services there three times a week to and from its Hong Kong hub. The Chinese mainland is a key region of growth for oneworld member airlines. Guangzhou will become the alliance's fourth destination in the country when Finnair links the southern city with its Helsinki hub three times a week from 2 September. British Airways aims to join Finnair and Qantas in serving Shanghai in a few months', with American Airlines following suit from 2 April 2006. Cathay Pacific is also seeking rights to fly to the commercial centre.

BA franchisee to link Denmark with Birmingham and Helsinki: oneworld affiliate Sun Air, the Danish franchisee of British Airways, is to launch flights from its Billund base, in the center of Denmark, to Birmingham (UK) and to oneworld partner Finnair's Helsinki hub from 4 April. It will code-share with Finnair on the latter service. It will operate Dornier 328 turboprops on both routes. Destinations already served from Billund include Manchester, Edinburgh, Aarhus, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm.

AA affiliates open two new routes: Two new US domestic routes are being launched by American Airlines regional affiliates, both also oneworld affiliates. American Eagle will offer non-stops between its Dallas/Fort Worth hub and Quad Cities International at Moline (Illinois) from 9 June, using 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 jets. AmericanConnection will resume its route between St Louis and Little Rock, with twice-daily Embraer regional jets from 1 May.

Qantas to increase Sydney-Hong Kong-London frequencies: Qantas is to add a fourth weekly service on its new Sydney-Hong Kong-London kangaroo route from 13 November, taking its weekly frequencies between Australia and the UK to 28.

Cathay Pacific to raise schedules on seven key routes: Cathay Pacific is to increase frequencies on seven key routes in the coming new flying season, from the end of this month, including adding another seven flights a week to Beijing and a third daily service to Los Angeles. Schedules will also increase to Amsterdam, Ho Chi Minh City, Johannesburg, Nagoya and Perth.

American connects Miami with Bermuda: American Airlines has launched services between Miami and Bermuda with two flights a week by Boeing 737s, increasing to five a week in June.

All BA longhaul flights from Gatwick now offer Club World flat beds: British Airways has completed the upgrading of the cabins of its longhaul fleet operating from London Gatwick, so that all intercontinental flights to and from its second London gateway now offer its Club World flat beds as well as its World Traveller Plus premium economy service. The airline operates Boeing 777s from Gatwick to 12 destinations in the USA and Caribbean - Antigua, Atlanta, Barbados, Bermuda, Dallas/Fort Worth, Grenada, Houston, Kingston, Orlando, St Lucia, Tampa and Tobago.

Iberia places biggest aircraft order in its history: Iberia has ordered 30 aircraft in the Airbus A320 family - 15 A318s, nine A320s and six A321s – for delivery from next year, with options on another 49, in the biggest fleet order in its history. They will replace the Spanish oneworld partners' 19 MD87s, 13 MD88s, seven Boeing 757s and its oldest Airbus A320s on its short and medium haul routes. With 76 of the Airbus family of twinjets, from an order placed in 1998, the latest development will provide the airline with a standard fleet of short and mediumhaul aircraft, with configurations ranging from 120 to 200 seats, delivering both aircraft and crew productivity and savings on spare parts and training.

American on track with MD80 up-grades: American Airlines reported yesterday that it is on track to complete two-thirds of its planned MD80 fleet modifications by the end of next month, including increasing the number of First Class seats from 14 to 16. The rest of the targeted fleet will be converted by early June, in time for the busy summer season. The modifications also include the installation of larger overhead bins and powerports. Vice-President Sales David Cush said: "While other airlines are shrinking First Class, we are listening to our customers who say upgrades are important to them, and we're responding accordingly."

Aer Lingus extends self-service check-in to transatlantic routes: Aer Lingus has boarded its millionth passenger checking in using its FastPass self-service check-in facility as it extends the service to its transatlantic routes this week. Currently, 55 per cent of its passengers check themselves in using these facilities, with the airline expecting this to grow to 66 per cent by the end of this year.

BA reduces advanced booking requirement for unaccompanied minors: British Airways has reduced the advanced booking requirement for unaccompanied minors from seven to just two days, to provide greater flexibility for customers while still ensuring airports have the appropriate amount of warning to prepare to look after children traveling alone with the airline.

AA and LAN named Latin America's best again: American Airlines has been voted the best airline and the best frequent flyer programme serving Latin America for the third year running by readers of Latin Trade magazine. This year, the airline also won in a new airline category - best business class. LAN was judged to serve the best airline food for the third year running, and its Neruda lounge at Santiago selected as Latin America's best airport lounge for the second year. The results are based on the views of more than 100 000 executives from across the region. Latin Trade is the region's leading business magazine with a readership of 350 000.

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 603 destinations in 136 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 by 80 000 travel agency professionals from more than 200 countries. oneworld next month becomes the first global alliance enabling passengers to connect between its member airlines' flights with electronic tickets only. It is also the only alliance whose members reported collective profits last year. Note: LAN affiliate LAN ECUADOR is not a member of oneworld.