aword from oneworld: October 2003

22 October 2003

oneworld WINS 'WORLD'S LEADING AIRLINE ALLIANCE' AWARD..: oneworld™ was named the World's Leading Airline Alliance at the tenth World Travel Awards, which describes itself as the travel industry's number one awards scheme. Based on votes cast by 80 000 travel agencies professionals from more than 200 countries, the awards were presented at a glittering ceremony at New York's Plaza Hotel. Among oneworld members flying high in the awards, American Airlines was judged as offering the World's Leading Economy Class, the World's Leading Airline Internet Site, and North America's Leading Airline. Cathay Pacific was named the World's Leading First Class, the World's Leading Use of In-flight Technology and Asia's Leading Airline. Its Hong Kong home hub was also named Asia's Leading Airport. oneworld partner Qantas was honoured as Australasia's Leading Airline, and oneworld member elect Swiss International took the title as Europe's Leading Airline.

..AS MEMBERS WIN IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT 'OSCARS'..: oneworld carriers have again been among the "Oscar" winners at the annual awards for in-flight entertainment, taking more prizes than competitors in any of the other global alliances. Qantas took the top prize for best overall in-flight entertainment offered by any big airline (defined as with a fleet of more than 51 aircraft), at the 15th "Avion" awards staged by the World Airline Entertainment Association, in Seattle. Cathay Pacific took two top awards – for best audio entertainment and best shorthaul video programming.

..WHILE LANCHILE NAMED LATIN AMERICA'S BEST AIRLINE: LanChile has been named best airline in Latin America in a survey by the leading business magazine Global Finance, for the third year running. The publication listed best companies by sector worldwide, based on the views of analysts, editors and specialized journalists.

..AND IBERIA REGIONAL NAMED EUROPE'S BEST AGAIN: oneworld affiliate Air Nostrum, which flies as Iberia Regional, has been named European Regional Airline of the Year by the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) for the third time in four years.

SWISS HUB ZURICH IS ONE OF NINE NEW AER LINGUS DESTINATIONS: Aer Lingus has become the first of the existing oneworld airlines to announce new services to Zurich, hub of the alliance's member elect Swiss International Air Lines, following the latter's election on board the global airline grouping last month. The Irish oneworld carrier will launch flights between the Swiss financial center from March. Other new Aer Lingus destinations include Bilbao and Valencia in oneworld partner Iberia's Spanish homeland, together with Berlin, Lyon and Venice, all from late March. Added from the end of May will be Copenhagen, Dubrovnik and Warsaw.

SHANGHAI JOINS oneworld NETWORK WITH NEW FINNAIR FLIGHTS: Shanghai has joined the oneworld network, with Finnair launching flights to the Chinese commercial capital three times a week from its Helsinki hub. Besides being the first airline in the alliance to serve Shanghai, it is also the first to operate to the city from Northern Europe. The new service has been timed, like the airline's other Far Eastern flight, to provide excellent through connections at Helsinki to and from cities across Europe. Finnair is also linking its Helsinki home with oneworld partners American Airlines' and Iberia's Miami hub this northern hemisphere winter season, with twice-weekly flights. AA and Iberia offer extensive connections across Latin America from and to the Florida gateway.

QANTAS ROLLS OUT NEW SKYBEDS AND WORLD'S FIRST TWO-WAY SMS: Qantas has launched its new A$385 million (US$255 million) International Business Class, featuring a state-of-the-art 6 ft 6,5 ins (199,4 cm) long and 23,5 ins (60 cm) wide Skybeds, reclining to eight degrees, with a fixed cocoon-style seat surround to provide maximum privacy. The overall cabin design has also been given a fresh look, with new style curtains, carpets, pillows and blankets, and a new "mood lighting system" installed, designed exclusively for Qantas and the first of its kind in the skies. As part of the relaunch of its premium cabins, the airline has recruited a team of 1 200 dedicated First and Business Class flight attendants to deliver a fresh style catering service, with new meals, designed by top Australian chef Neil Perry. At the same time, the Australian airline has become the first in the world to offer a two-way air-to-ground short message service (SMS),using their in-seat telephone handset.

CATHAY AND QANTAS LAUNCH CODE-SHARING: Cathay Pacific and Qantas are the latest oneworld partners to launch code-sharing. The QF code is now carried on four Cathay flights a week between the latter's Hong Kong base and Rome, replacing Qantas' own direct twice-weekly flights to the Italian capital. With American Airlines and British Airways also now code-sharing, it means code-sharing is now in place between 20 of the 28 potential pairings of oneworld partners, making it easier for customers to connect between member airlines' networks. The development reflects oneworld's main strategy of deepening co-operation between member airlines and spreading the benefits of this right across the grouping, to increase the value generated for customers and shareholders.

BA'S BIG LONDON HEATHROW SWITCHES START THIS WEEKEND: A major programme of switches of British Airways' flights between terminals at its London Heathrow hub begins on Sunday with the transfer of its Tokyo Narita and Johannesburg services from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1. The full programme of flight switches – comprising a dozen longhaul and 35 shorthaul flights – will be phased in during the next six months. To support the programme, more than £300 million of improvements have been carried out at Terminal 1, including:

  • Improved check-in facilities, with, for the first time, a designated zone for British Airways' premium passengers, including more self-service machines, with its own route through security checks, together with a dedicated ticket and currency exchange desks. The check-in area for Economy passengers has also been up-graded.
  • A new British Airways Arrivals Lounge, featuring 15 shower suites, a "combiz" area, "sanctuary", smoking room and full breakfast area.
  • A new Terraces Lounge for departing premium passengers, including emerald and sapphire tier members of any other oneworld airline's frequent flyer programme when traveling on any oneworld flight. With seating for more than 650 passengers, it includes a Molton Brown travel spa and duty-free shop.
  • A designated British Airways First class lounge will open early next year, incorporating a champagne bar and pre-flight dining room.)

    AMERICAN ADDS MORE BOSTON AND FLORIDA FLIGHTS: American Airlines is to launch a series of new routes and add frequencies on a range of services from six of its Florida gateways from 1 November. From Miami, it will launch daily flights to Indianapolis, Minneapolis/St Paul and Pittsburgh, weekly flights to Eagle/Vail, Colarado, and three weekly services Guanacaste Liberia, in Costa Rica. Frequencies will be increased to almost 25 established destinations on the airline's Miami network. From Fort Lauderdale, it will open routes to Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo, followed from 15 December by Caracas. West Palm Beach will have new flights to Boston, Chicago and New York La Guardia a minimum of once daily, and Fort Myers will gain services to Chicago O'Hare, initially daily then rising to two a day.
  • From its Boston hub, AA is adding more than 50 flights a week, including a new New Orleans link and extra frequencies to sunshine spots in Southern USA, the Caribbean and Mexico.
  • AA is to link Providence to its Dallas/Fort Worth hub with new daily flights from 1 November. The airline already serves the Rhode Island airport four times a day to and from Chicago.
  • American Eagle is to will resume service between Duluth International and Chicago O'Hare from 2 March, with three round trips each weekday by 44-seat Embraer ERJ-140 regional jets.

    FINNAIR BECOMES A BIGGER LITTLE HELPER TO SANTA: Santa Claus will find it easier than ever delivering Christmas presents across Europe this year, with Finnair linking his home airports with more destinations across the continent. The Nordic oneworld member will launch four more routes to Lapland from 13 December – Zurich-Kittilä, Milan- Rovaniemi, Amsterdam-Kuusamo and Paris-Rovaniemi-Ivalo- Kittilä. During the peak winter, the airline will also operate 25 flights a day between its Helsinki base and Oulo in northern Finland.

    CATHAY LINKS HONG KONG WITH PEARL DELTA..: Cathay Pacific passengers can now make direct high-speed ferry connections between international services to and from its Hong Kong base and key cities in mainland China's nearby Pearl River Delta region. The new SkyPier is now operating as an extension of existing airside transfer facilities at the Hong Kong airport. Initially, ferries will run to and from Macau, Shenzhen, Shekou and Humen in Dongguan. As they are transiting in Hong Kong, passengers need not pass through Hong Kong immigration.

    ..AND UPS FREQUENCIES ON KEY ROUTES: Cathay Pacific, now operating schedules at full–pre SARS levels, is adding more capacity on key routes. From 26 October, frequencies to Rome will be increased by one to five a week, Melbourne will see another two weekly flights, giving 13 in total, and Auckland flights will increase from 10 to 12 a week. From 1 December, a sixth weekly service will be added to Johannesburg.

    AA AND QANTAS OPEN NEW JOINT LOUNGES AT LOS ANGELES..: American Airlines and Qantas have opened new joint lounges at Los Angeles, available to emerald and sapphire tier members of all oneworld member airlines' frequent flyer programmes. Developed at a cost of US$22 million and with a combined area of more than 25 000 sq ft, the new Admirals Club/Qantas Club and Flagship Lounge/Qantas First Lounge are located in LAX's Terminal 4 on the concourse level across from gate 40.

    ..AS BA OPENS NEW FIRST CLASS LOUNGE AT LONDON GATWICK: British Airways has opened a new lounge for its First Class passengers at London Gatwick. Situated two floors above the previous facility, it offers premium travelers a relaxing area with deep and luxurious furniture in rich velvets and classic tailored herringbone. It is also available to all Emerald tier members of any oneworld airline's frequent flyer programme.

    QANTAS TO LAUNCH DAILY CANBERRA-PERTH LINKS: Qantas is to launch daily services between Canberra and Perth from 4 February, with Boeing 737-400s. The Australian oneworld carrier says it will mount a schedule to enable travelers from the Western Australian city to conduct a full day's business in the nation's capital in a day. The non-stop flights will cut a minimum of an hour off the current fastest schedules.

    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, LanChile, Finnair and Aer Lingus, with Swiss International Air Lines joining next year - enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any of them 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 more countries than any other alliance – 136 territories and more than 570 destinations - and oneworld offers more alliance fare products, serving more markets, than all its competitors together. Its members' 1 900 aircraft operate nearly 8 700 flights a day.