Iberia President Fernando Conte appointed oneworld Chairman

07 June 2004

Iberia President and Executive Chairman Fernando Conte has been appointed to serve as the new Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board - the top management tier of the leading airline global alliance.

In his year in office, he will act as "first among equals" of the chief executives of the global airline alliance's partners, who comprise some of the biggest and most highly regarded airlines in the world - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, LanChile, Finnair and Aer Lingus, besides Iberia.

Between them, they serve more countries than any global airline grouping, with flights to 575 destinations in 135 territories. The airlines and their affiliates carried 235 million passengers last year on a combined fleet of almost 2 000 aircraft, earning revenues of some US$50 billion.

oneworld was recently named the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by 80 000 travel agencies professionals from more than 200 countries, with its airline members regularly taking top honours in the industry's various award schemes.

Senor Conte will chair the three annual meetings of the oneworld Governing Board (oGB) and lead various other alliance activities, after being elected Chairman at the alliance's latest summit meeting, in Singapore today, ahead of the annual meeting of IATA, the International Air Transport Association.

A key focus for the alliance during his year as Chairman will be to complete the roll out of interline electronic ticketing between all the group's members. They are on track to implement this fully by the end of 2004, making oneworld the first alliance to offer this level of customer convenience.

Another key aim will be to build further on the value oneworld adds to its member airlines - totaling some US$2 billion in the past three years through cost savings and revenue generation, including earnings from alliance fare and sales products, of which oneworld offers more than all its competitors combined.

Senor Conte, 54, was appointed President and Executive Chairman of Iberia in June 2003 after serving as the senior independent member of its Board since March 2001. He was previously Chief Executive of the Spanish division of the international engineering and construction group ABB.

He succeeds as oGB Chairman Finnair's President and Chief Executive Keijo Suila. The office rotates on an annual basis among the alliance members' chief executives.