oneworld marks its first decade with a host of special offers and initiatives to build on its quality lead

03 February 2009

oneworld® marks the 10th anniversary of its launch by unveiling a series  of initiatives to enable it to build further on its lead as the airline alliance of quality and innovation.

Speaking as Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, Gerard Arpey, Chairman and Chief Executive of American Airlines, said: 

"oneworld has made an important contribution in helping our partner airlines endure a tumultuous decade while still achieving the best collective profitability of any alliance. 

"Our on-going focus on quality will not waver.  While our combined network is unmatched, our focus has always been on quality rather than quantity, on service rather than size.  This is what makes oneworld stand out as an alliance - and that will not change.

"The decade to come will bring additional challenges, so we're going to work even harder to make sure oneworld creates value for our member airlines and delivers more services and benefits to our customers - hopefully with the benefit later this year of anti-trust immunity between our transatlantic oneworld partners, enabling us to compete on more equal terms with other alliances.

"Today my colleagues and I renewed our commitment for oneworld to further integrate the alliance and all its activities more closely into our own airlines in every area - enabling us to unlock even more of the alliance's potential for all its stakeholders."

In oneworld's first 10 years, it generated US$5 billion of revenues for its member airlines through its alliance fares and sales activities alone.  Interline revenues - from passengers transferring from one member airlines' flights to another's - have reached more than US$16 billion.  Revenues from alliance sales activities have increased by 330 per cent in the decade - while its member airlines' overall passenger revenues have risen by just 100 per cent during the same period.  See separate press release.

The commitment of the chief executives of its member airlines to step up their own carriers' oneworld activities will cover all areas of activities, from customer service through sales, marketing, distribution and product development to sharing best practice and cost reduction.  The overall aim is to build on the added value oneworld enables them to deliver to their customers and build further on oneworld's objective of establishing itself as the leading quality alliance.  See separate press release.

They also announced a series of initiatives and alliance firsts to mark oneworld's 10th birthday:

  • A standard oneworld livery that all of its member airlines will adopt on a proportion of their fleets, as a symbol of their renewed commitment to the alliance. See separate press release.
  • A 10 per cent cut in the price of all of oneworld consumer fares for ten weeks. oneworld offers a wider range of alliance fares than all of its competitors, offering unrivalled choice for business executives travelling right around the world or student backpackers exploring one continent - and earning more than US$850 million for oneworld's member airlines last year. See separate press release.
  • The launch of its latest consumer fare - Circle Atlantic - offering travel through and between Europe and the Middle East, North America and South America. See separate press release.
  • On-line enhancements to make booking flights on all of its member airlines easier than ever before - whether they are frequent flyer award redemption flights or regular tickets. This puts oneworld on track to be the first alliance:
  • To enable its airlines' frequent flyer programme members to book on-line award flights on all oneworld airlines.
  • With every member airline selling through its own website flights operated by all its global alliance partners in conjunction with its own flights. See separate press release.
  • A chance for customers to win a pair of Business Class tickets for travel all the way around the world on oneworld's airline members, simply by saying what services and benefits they would most like the alliance to offer in the future. See separate press release.

As oneworld begins its second decade, the alliance and its transatlantic airlines are also working on plans to enable them to unlock even more of oneworld's potential with further benefits and services for travelers, in anticipation of gaining anti-trust immunity in the USA, following last year's application by American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Royal Jordanian.

They are preparing too to welcome on board Mexicana and its affiliate Mexicana Click later this year.

Also this year, the alliance's biggest airport co-location project to date will be completed, with all of its on-line airlines at London Heathrow completing their moves from across all four of the airport's established terminals into just two.  Finnair last week transferred into Terminal 3 alongside American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.  Iberia will join them later this month, with Qantas following later this year.  British Airways is also moving some services there, with the vast majority of its operations now housed in the new Terminal 5.  At Barcelona, all oneworld on-line airlines will also move later this year into the new Terminal Sur.

Since its launch, oneworld's membership has grown from an initial five airlines to ten today (11 when Mexicana is added) plus around 20 affiliate members - all among the best quality carriers from their respective regions.  Founders American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas have been joined by Iberia, Finnair, LAN, Japan Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian.  

Between them, these airlines:

  • Serve almost 700 airports in nearly 150 countries, with some 8 500 daily departures.
  • Offer some 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
  • Carry 330 million passengers a year.
  • Employ 300 000 people.
  • Operate almost 2 300 aircraft.
  • Generate US$100 billion annual revenues.
  • Account for 20 per cent of the entire world airline industry on most measures.

They also represent the industry's most profitable collection of airline companies, generating net profits of US$11.3 billion in the alliance's first decade, against US$9.3 billion by the many more members in Star and collective losses of US$19.5 billion by SkyTeam carriers.

The heads of all oneworld airlines joined Gerard Arpey at a special event in Madrid - home base of Iberia which was invited to join oneworld 10 years ago this month - to mark the alliance's 10th birthday:

  • British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Tony Tyler
  • Finnair Chief Executive Jukka Hienonen
  • Iberia Chairman and Chief Executive Fernando Conte
  • Japan Airlines Group Chief Executive Haruka Nishimatsu
  • LAN Airlines Chief Executive Enrique Cueto
  • Malév Chief Executive Peter Leonov
  • Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce
  • Royal Jordanian Chief Executive Samer Majali
  • Member elect Mexicana Chief Executive Manuel Borja
  • oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch

Reflecting its member airlines' track record of winning more honours proportionally in the various airline industry awards than their counterparts in other alliances, oneworld has been voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the past six years in the industry Oscars, the World Travel Awards - retaining this honour every year since it was first presented.

oneworld recently became the first to sell any alliance public fare on-line - and the first in the travel industry to enable customers to book and pay for any multi-airline round-the-world ticket through the internet - with the launch of its oneworld Explorer booking engine on

Earlier, it became the first alliance - with a lead of more than three years - to enable passengers to connect between flights operated by different oneworld airlines with the convenience of electronic tickets only.