oneworld welcomes Iberia on board

16 February 1999

American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas today welcomed Iberia on board their oneworld™ alliance.

Spain's leading airline will start offering oneworld services and benefits later this year after its 25 291 employees have taken part in the oneworld training and communications program. Also, the airline's systems need to be linked with those of the other oneworld members before Iberia becomes a full partner in the alliance.

The addition of Iberia means the oneworld members, including Finnair which is also to join later this year, will together carry a total of 206 million passengers a year on a fleet of 1 783 aircraft to more than 680 destinations in 143 countries.

Today's announcement was made by the Chief Executives of the oneworld airlines in Sydney, where they are holding their quarterly meeting.

Xabier de Irala, Iberia's Chairman, said: "Alliances will be vital for Iberia in the increasingly competitive airline environment of the 21st Century and we are very pleased to join the world's leading alliance."

In a progress report on oneworld today, the Chief Executives said the launch of the oneworld services and benefits on 1 February had gone smoothly, and thousands of passengers had already benefited from the alliance.

Notes to editors:

oneworld enables each carrier to offer customers services and products that it cannot provide by itself. These include:

  • closer linking of their frequent flyer programs, enabling members of the five airlines' frequent flyer programs to earn and redeem miles on any eligible flights and fares of the oneworld alliance airlines. Qualifying flights also count towards frequent flyer tier status.
  • top tier frequent flyer cards are being reissued with new Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby symbols, to ensure members receive the appropriate recognition and privileges to which they are accustomed no matter on which of the five airlines they are flying.
  • access to the five airlines' 200 plus exclusive lounges for eligible members of their frequent flyer schemes, no matter on which of the five airlines they are travelling, along with priority check-in, standby and waitlisting, and preferred seating and boarding.
  • smoother transfers for passengers travelling across the global networks of the five carriers.
  • greater support, with employees of each airline trained to assist and care for customers travelling with any of the oneworld airlines.
  • greater value through a range of round-the-world products, including the new oneworld Explorer fares.
While it does not specifically apply to their cargo activities, the airlines involved are working on a series of initiatives to enable them to offer improved services to their freight and mail customers.

Iberia's involvement in oneworld augments the agreements announced in Madrid on Friday between the Spanish carrier and American Airlines and British Airways.

Facts and figures

  • The seven airline members of oneworld with their franchise and partner airlines have networks that serve some 680 destinations in 143 countries.
  • They carried a total of 206 million passengers last year – equivalent to one in 28 of the world's population. Every second, six passengers check in for a flight by an airline member of oneworld.
  • They flew 2,9 million tonnes of cargo last year, equivalent to loading 200 lbs every second.
  • The members of oneworld operate a total of more than 1 780 aircraft.
  • They fly a total of nearly seven million miles – equivalent to 280 times around the world's circumference – every day.
  • A flight by a member of oneworld takes off somewhere around the world every 10 seconds.
  • The members of oneworld employ among them 254 150 people.
  • The airline members of oneworld serve some half a million meals a day.
  • The members of oneworld load almost a million items of baggage a day.
  • Employees of the original five member airlines spent an estimated 255 people years on oneworld training and communication before oneworld took off on 1 February.