aword from oneworld: September 2007

27 September 2007

Kathmandu, Genoa, Santa Fe and Shanghai Hongqiao join network: Four new destinations and one new country are being added to the worldwide network served by oneworld member airlines, which already covers almost 700 airports in 150 territories.

The new county is Nepal, with Dragonair - which joins oneworld on 1 November - launching services between its Hong Kong home and Nepal's capital Kathmandu from 2 December with an initial four Airbus A320s a week.

Also in Asia, Japan Airlines is putting a second Shanghai airport on the oneworld map, with the inauguration of daily flights to Hongqiao from the airline's Tokyo Haneda hub from 29 September, by Boeing 767s initially and then Boeing 747-400s from late October. It will maintain its existing four daily round trips between Shanghai Pudong and Tokyo Narita. The new route will provide greater customer convenience, with both airports closer to their city centers than the established gateways.

In Europe, both British Airways and Iberia are launching flights to Genoa, making it the 15th city in Italy served by oneworld carriers. Iberia will inaugurate services first, through its franchisee Iberia Regional Air Nostrum, with daily CRJ200 flights to and from its Madrid hub from 28 October. British Airways will follow from 4 April, with daily services to and from London Gatwick.

In the USA, affiliate member American Eagle, the regional sister of American Airlines, is bringing New Mexico's Santa Fe on-line to oneworld, with non-stops to and from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub from 13 December and to and from Los Angeles the next day, using Embraer 140 regional jets on both routes.

Royal Jordanian to link its Amman home with oneworld hub Hong Kong: Royal Jordanian is opening services between its Amman home and the Hong Kong hub of oneworld partner Cathay Pacific from 22 January with an initial three flights a week as an extension of its existing route to Bangkok.

 

American Airlines and affiliates to open a dozen new routes: American Airlines and its regional affiliates are opening more than a dozen new routes in the coming months, with most of the expansion from New York.

The mainline airline itself will launch two new transatlantic routes from JFK from 1 May - to Iberia hub Barcelona and to Milan Malpensa, using two-class Boeing 767-300s on both routes.

American launches its new JFK-London Stansted route on 28 October and will now double frequencies to two a day from 7 April.

It has also recently launched services between JFK and Las Vegas and between LaGuardia and Minneapolis-St Paul.

From its Chicago O'Hare hub, American will inaugurate daily non-stops to Buenos Aires from 13 December, using two-class Boeing 767-300s. It already serves the Argentinian city from Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and New York JFK.

Also in Latin America, the airline will fly from its Dallas/Fort Worth home to Panama City four days a week and Providenciales (Turks and Caicos Islands) weekly from 13 December, using two-class Boeing 737-800s. On the same date, it will launch non-stops between Phoenix and Miami, also with 737-800s.

From New York JFK, American Eagle will fly daily from 13 December to Pittsburgh, which it already serves from LaGuardia, and fly to Montreal from LaGuardia three times daily, in addition to its existing thrice dailies from JFK. Also from LaGuardia, it will operate twice-dailies to Memphis.

Elsewhere, it will inaugurate dailies between Chicago O'Hare and Gulfport-Biloxi, also from 13 December, while AmericanConnection will fly non-stops between St Louis and Springfield, Illinois, from 4 November.

Cathay to increase flights between oneworld hubs Hong Kong and Sydney: Cathay Pacific is upgrading services between its Hong Kong home and the Sydney hub of oneworld partner Qantas by adding four additional frequencies a week from 1 February, giving a total of 25 roundtrips a week between the two cities and 58 a week between Hong Kong and Australia. The new flights will be by three-class Airbus A330-300s.

Iberia opens Prague and Warsaw routes and ups South American services: Iberia will add Prague and Warsaw to its network next month, with Airbus A320s to both cities from Madrid. It will serve the Polish capital four times a week from 28 October and the Czech capital five times a week from the next day. Prague and Warsaw are already on the oneworld network through services by the alliance's other carriers. To South America, it will increase frequencies to Buenos Aires by another three flights a week from December, giving three round trips on most days of the week, and raise Bogota schedules by three from January, taking its weekly schedule to ten.

Cathay boosts Japan schedules: Cathay Pacific is to add a sixth daily service between its Hong Kong hub and Japan Airlines' Tokyo Narita international base from late October, replacing its Dragonair affiliate on the route. Dragonair will instead open services to Fukuoka and Sendai. Cathay Pacific itself is also adding a second daily non-stop between Hong Kong and San Francisco, from 18 October.

Japan Airlines to launch First Class on domestic routes from 1 December: First Class will make its debut on Japan Airlines' domestic flights on 1 December, on seven round trips a day between its Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Itami hubs, expanding as soon as possible to other departures between the two airports. It will be extended during 2008 to Tokyo Haneda routes to and from Fukuoka and Sapporo.

The new cabin will offer seats upholstered in the finest leather, reclining to a maximum angle of 132 degrees with 130 cm of leg room and a width of 53 cm. They will be laid out on its Boeing 777-200s in a 2-2-2 configuration, with a wood-finished centre partition between each pair of seats to provide maximum privacy. In-flight meals will be created by some of Japan's leading restaurants. On the ground, passengers will be able to check in at dedicated First Class counters and use lounges before being offered priority boarding.

Qantas adds Premium Economy as fourth cabin on international longhaul:  Qantas is to add a fourth cabin on its international longhaul flights, with Premium Economy to be rolled out progressively from February on its Boeing 747-400s serving London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, and on its new Airbus A380s to be delivered from August next year. On both aircraft types, it will feature 32 seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration on the 747s and 2-3-2 on A380s.

The new cabin has been designed to appeal to Economy travellers seeking more space, comfort and an enhanced level of service. Qantas claims the seats will offer more recline and leg room than any other carrier offers in Premium Economy - 9 ins seat recline and up to 42 ins seat pitch. The cabin will include a self-service bar offering a selection of refreshments throughout the flight, in addition to the regular choice of meals designed by celebrity chef Neil Perry's Rockpool Group, premium wines, superior tableware and soft furnishings. On the ground, there will be dedicated Premium Economy check-in desks.

It will be the third oneworld airline to offer a Premium Economy cabin, after British Airways and Japan Airlines.

 

Japan Airlines to move Moscow operations to Domodedovo: Japan Airlines is to move its Moscow operations from Sheremetyevo to Domodedovo International from 15 December in a move that the airline says will "increase the comfort and convenience of passengers". At Domodedovo, it will join British Airways, Iberia and Royal Jordanian, leaving Finnair and Malév Hungarian Airlines at Sheremetyevo. JAL serves Moscow twice weekly, with one additional flight a week normally during the summer peak.

American opens New York JFK's biggest and newest terminal: American Airlines' US$1.3 billion new terminal at New York JFK - the biggest and newest at the airport - has been fully opened.

At more than 1.5 million sq ft, the new facility includes 84 ticketing positions, 44 self-service check-in kiosks with both domestic and international check-in capabilities, security checkpoints capable of handling 1,800 travellers an hour, a new US Customs and Immigration facility that can handle 1,600 travellers an hour, as well as a state-of-the-art, in-line security baggage system to expedite passenger processing times.

Other improvements include two new Admirals Club Lounges and a new Flagship Lounge for international First Class passengers, representing a combined US$12 million investment. Premium class travellers also benefit from new premium class check-in service, new premium class security lanes and new International curb-side check-in service - ensuring that curb-through-security processing takes less than 30 minutes.

The terminal - which is also used by oneworld partners Finnair and Malév Hungarian Airlines - can handle 12.8 million passengers a year. With its American Eagle regional affiliate, the group offers 91 daily departures from JFK.

 

JAL opens revamped Narita lounges: Japan Airlines has opened two completely revamped lounges at Tokyo Narita Terminal 2. Its new First Class and JAL Sakura facilities now boast a more spacious and comfortable atmosphere, with a combined seating capacity for almost 700 people. Facilities include the services of a resident professional masseuse, plus a self-service dining area, fully-stocked bars and shower rooms.

Qantas to give its Perth domestic terminal A$50 million upgrade: Qantas is to invest A$50 million in improving its domestic terminal at Perth, expanding its check-in and departure areas, Qantas Club lounge and baggage reclaim facilities and providing a new security screening facilities.

 

BA named Best Airline by Business Traveller: British Airways has added another "airline of the year" title to its name, retaining its Best Airline award from Business Traveller magazine. It already held "airline of the year" awards from OAG, Global Traveler and World Travel Awards. In the Business Traveller awards, it was also voted Best Shorthaul Carrier, Best Frequent Flyer Programme and Best Economy Class. Among the other oneworld winners,American Airlines was named Best North American Airline.

Qantas launches carbon emissions offset programme: Qantas has launched a programme enabling passengers to offset the carbon emissions caused by their flights. Passengers can now elect to offset their share of emissions from their Qantas flights by making a small contribution through qantas.com, using an on-line calculator.

The airline itself will pay to offset the emissions for all its staff travelling for business purposes as well as those generated by its ground transport vehicles.

All contributions will go towards abatement programmes approved by Australia-based Greenhouse Friendly. These may include energy efficiency measures, generation of renewable energy and tree planting projects - all activities to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or to avoid their release in the first place.

The group has set itself a target of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by more than two million tonnes by June 2011 through a range of environmental initiatives, with its focus on the most modern and efficient aircraft playing a key role. In the past year, it had reduced emissions by 130,000 tonnes - equivalent to removing 30,000 cars from the roads.

oneworld in brief: 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, plus some 20 affiliates. China's Dragonair will join as an affiliate on 1 November.

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 is the only alliance to enable passengers to fly throughout its network, on any combination of carriers, using just electronic tickets.

oneworld was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the fourth year running in the 2006 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170,000 travel professionals, including more than 110,000 travel agents in 200 countries.

fin