aword from oneworld: April 2006

19 April 2006

A dozen more destinations join oneworld's network: Twelve more destinations are joining the network served by the oneworld alliance in this new flying season, as its eight member airlines and 12 affiliates continue to launch new routes in response to customer demand.

British Airways has put five new airports on the alliance's map, with the launch of flights between London Gatwick and:

  • Tirana, Albania's capital, with three flights a week.
  • Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, with five flights a week.
  • Varna, on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, with an initial two flights a week rising to four flights from June.
  • Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, with three flights a week increasing to four from June.
  • Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, with three flights a week.

British Airways' franchisee BMED, an affiliate member of oneworld, has inaugurated the alliance's first route to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, with six non-stops a week to and from London Heathrow.

Also in Europe, France's Rennes and Poland's Poznan have been brought on line, now served by Aer Lingus from its Dublin hub.

In the USA, Charleston (South Carolina) and Lafayette (Louisiana) have come on board, with affiliate American Eagle now serving them several times a day to and from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub.

Two more destinations will be brought on-line in early May, both from London Gatwick, by affiliate GB Airways, which flies as another British Airways franchisee - Dalaman, gateway to Turkey's west coast, and the Greek island of Rhodes.

These latest additions take the total oneworld network to 608 destinations in 135 countries.


Affiliate Sun-Air to link Paris CDG with its Danish hub: Affiliate Sun-Air, which flies as a British Airways franchisee, is to launch services between Paris Charles de Gaulle and its Billund hub, in its home country Denmark, with Dornier 328 turboprops every week day and Sunday from 28 August. oneworld's eight member airlines and their dozen affiliates already offer direct flights from Paris CDG to 25 airports worldwide, with the smoothest of connections to all 608 destinations served by the alliance.

Kuala Lumpur to be Finnair's 11th Asian destination: Kuala Lumpur is to be Finnair's 11th destination in Asia when the airline launches flights between its Helsinki hub and the Malaysian capital in May 2007, with an initial three services a week via Bangkok. In February, the airline carried more passenger traffic on its Asia routes than on its European network for the first time, in terms of revenue passenger kilometres. Kuala Lumpur is already on the oneworld map through Cathay Pacific, with candidate member Japan Airlines also serving the gateway.

American makes long-awaited Chinese debut with launch of Shanghai: American Airlines has launched its long-awaited services to China, with daily non-stops between its Chicago O'Hare hub and Shanghai Pudong by three-class Boeing 777s. American has joined oneworld partners British Airways, Finnair and Qantas serving the Chinese commercial centre.

Qantas resumes San Francisco services: Qantas has added San Francisco back to its network, with three flights a week to and from Sydney with plans to develop the route further "over time". At San Francisco, it offers connections to a number of points in the USA, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami through code-shares with oneworld partner American Airlines. From June, its new non-stops will be extended to Vancouver for the peak flying season. Partners British Airways and Cathay Pacific also serve San Francisco.

  • Qantas is to add flights between Melbourne and the New Zealand ski resort of Queenstown during the peak season, with weekly services from 9 July for 12 weeks. It already serves Queenstown from Sydney and Brisbane.

BA ups Delhi and transatlantic frequencies: British Airways has doubled frequencies between the alliance's London Heathrow hub and Delhi to two a day, while across the Atlantic it is increasing flights to Montreal from 17 to 21 a week, to Vancouver from 10 to 13 a week and to both Montreal and Seattle from seven to 10 a week. The airline has also launched a second route between London and Athens, with the opening of services from Gatwick besides Heathrow.

Finnair increases frequencies to Hong Kong and Osaka: Finnair is increasing frequencies between its Helsinki home and oneworld hub Hong Kong and to Osaka during the northern hemisphere's summer peak. Between July and October, it will fly its Hong Kong route five times a week - all non-stop during this period, rather than via Bangkok as usual. Its Osaka service will be offered six days a week.

LAN unveils its first aircraft fitted with new-style Premium Business cabin: LAN's has rolled out its first Boeing 767-300 fitted with the airline's new Premium Business cabin. The new product will be introduced on flights between North and South America and within Latin America during the second half of this year, replacing its current first and business class cabins, and providing "a level of service offered by few airlines in the world".

It features seats with a 74 ins pitch that recline into fully flat beds, with dividing panels between seats and ensuring maximum privacy for passengers and down comforters and soft pillows aiding sleep. In-flight entertainment is also being up-graded, with 15,4 ins individual, high definition, wide-screen monitors and audio and video on demand, with full fast forward, rewind and pause options. The overall cabin design has been enhanced, too, with new lighting, fabrics and tableware.

The economy cabin is also being improved, with new seats and larger (8,9 ins) video screens with on demand programming also. LAN is investing more than US$100 million in the improvements, with all 767-300 in its fleet to be retrofitted during the next two years.

BA to offer only self-service or web check-in on UK domestic flights: British Airways passengers flying on the airline's UK domestic network will only be able to check-in by using its self-service kiosks or via its website from 25 April. From then, its existing conventional check-in desks for domestic flights will be converted to "fast bag drop" desks only, for passengers with hold baggage who have already checked themselves in. The only exception will be for those traveling in groups of more than six, on code-share services or as unaccompanied minors.

The airline is taking this step now as part of its preparations for its move to London Heathrow Terminal 5 in two years, with the aim of creating "the best possible airport experience for travellers by further embracing technology, simplifying procedures and upgrading facilities". Customers who check-in via can print their boarding pass from their home or office printer, up to 24 hours before their flight, allowing them to proceed immediately to the boarding gate on arrival at the airport. Those travelling with children or infants will be able to check-in on from July 2006 with the introduction of new technology.

oneworld in brief: oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus, plus their dozen affiliates. Three more airlines are lining up to join - Royal Jordanian, which will come on board at the turn of 2006/2007; Malev, which has been elected on board with effect from early 2007; and Japan Airlines, which has signed a memorandum of understanding as its first step towards membership.

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 best airline alliance by readers of Business Traveller magazine for the second year running in its 2005 poll and the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the third year running in the latest World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by80,000 travel agency professionalsfrom more than 200 countries. It is also the only alliance whose members reported collective profits in their latest full year.

Nota: LAN affiliates LAN ECUADOR and LAN ARGENTINA are not members of oneworld.