oneworld airline volunteers lead first alliance humanitarian mission, to South Africa29 October 2007
More than 50 volunteer staff from oneworld member airlines and the alliance's central team are due to land in South Africa today on what is believed to be the first mission of its kind carried out by any of the global airline alliances anywhere worldwide.
They will be spending the week to work with a range of projects with charities in the Johannesburg area in a programme they are calling "oneworld against poverty".
The assignment is being spearheaded by the Qantas Cabin Crew Team, an organisation led by flight attendants at the Australian airline which supports charities around the worldwide network served by the carrier. Around 35 of its members will be taking part in this week's operation, led by the team's President Glenn Price.
While this Qantas group has been helping the Johannesburg projects in various ways for several years, this will be the first time they have been joined by colleagues from other part of the oneworld alliance.
Working alongside them this week will be some 25 representatives from Airline Ambassadors, a counterpart association at American Airlines, led by William Dise, its Regional Director and a crew chief at American, along with others from across the alliance including its central team at the oneworld Management Company.
The overall team includes representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, the UK and the USA.
While they will be personally delivering the proceeds of fund-raising they have been carrying out for much of the past year, their biggest donations will be in the form of "muscle-power". Qantas is supporting the exercise by providing ground transport, flying in 1 tonne of donated items and providing some logistical support.
The volunteers are taking the time for the trip from their annual vacation allowances, away from their regular duties at their respective airlines. They will be joined by 16 Qantas cabin crew and eight of the airline's pilots spending a couple of days in the city between flights from and to Australia.
The team is drawn from across the air transport career ladder - from flight attendants and pilots to managers. They are united in a desire to help those less privileged than themselves.
While in Johannesburg, they will focus their attention on three projects, working with:
- Nkosi's Haven, a centre for women, babies, children and young people suffering from HIV, where they will help renovate 16 cottages and a cricket pitch and basketball court.
- MES (Methodist Evangelical Services) New Haven for Life, which provides a home for street kids who are starting to go to school, where they will renovate the building and courtyard and install 50 beds, costing US$7,000, purchased through their fund-raising.
- FLOC (For the Love of Children), an inner city pre-school where 40 places are sponsored by the Qantas Cabin Crew Team. The volunteers will give all the children at the school an educational day out and party.
oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Qantas and, since 1 April, Japan Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian, plus some 20 affiliates.
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 airline alliance with a truly global network, as the only grouping with any member airlines in South America, in the Middle East and in Australia.
With Dragonair, oneworld's network serves some 700 destinations in almost 150 countries with approaching 9 500 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2 500 aircraft, carrying 320 million passengers and earning total revenues of US$90 billion in 2006.
It is also 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 latest World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170 000 travel professionals, including more than 110 000 travel agents in 200 countries.
Four of its member airlines serve South Africa - British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia and Qantas.