aword from oneworld: December 2008

30 December 2008

LAN Ecuador to launch domestic services:  oneworld® affiliate member LAN Ecuador has gained rights to launch domestic services within Ecuador - adding more new destinations to the alliance's network. 

From the end of March, it will connect the capital Quito with Guayquil and link both cities with Cuenca and Galapagos, using Airbus A320 family aircraft on all routes.

Cuenca (which has the three-letter IATA code CUE) and Galapagos (SCY) will both join the oneworld map for the first time.

This new domestic network will complement LAN Ecuador's international services to and from Ecuador, which include flights from both Guayaquil and Quito to places such as Buenos Aires, Madrid, Miami, New York and Santiago.

oneworld is currently the only global airline alliance with any members based in South America, through LAN Ecuador, LAN Airlines, LAN Argentina and LAN Peru.

American to link its Dallas-Fort Worth home with Iberia's Madrid hub:  American Airlines is to link its Dallas-Fort Worth base with the Madrid hub of its oneworld partner Iberia from May with daily non-stop two-class Boeing 767-300s.  Madrid will be the 34th international destination served by American and its American Eagle affiliate from their DFW hub.  The airline already serves the Spanish capital from Miami and flies to Barcelona from New York JFK.

American is also to resume seasonal flights between Boston and Paris CDG with daily Boeing 767-300s from 1 May and link the New England gateway with San Diego from 7 April with daily Boeing 757s and re-open service to Paris from 1 May with 767-300s. 

Dates confirmed for next oneworld terminal moves at London Heathrow:  Dates for the next phase of oneworld relocations at London Heathrow have now been confirmed, following the completion of British Airways' move into its new Terminal 5 base.

Finnair, which operates four daily round-trips between Heathrow and its Helsinki hub, will transfer from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 on 27 January. 

Iberia will transfer operations on 25 February from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3.  The Spanish airline links Heathrow with Madrid eight times a day and with Barcelona four times a day.

British Airways will also complete its move out of Terminal 1 on 25 February, with its final flights operating there - serving Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Nice and Helsinki - switching to Terminal 3.  A few weeks later - on 29 March -  BA will move its routes serving Malaga and Vienna to Terminal 3 from Terminal 5. 

Four of the five other oneworld airlines serving Heathrow are already based in Terminal 3 - American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

The only other oneworld on-line carrier, Qantas, will move there later in 2009, switching from Terminal 4.  British Airways' flights serving Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney will move from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 at the same time, alongside Qantas.

This will complete what has been oneworld's biggest airport co-location to date, bringing the operations of its eight carriers serving its biggest European hub from across all four of its established terminals into just two.

The oneworld carriers moving into Terminal 3 will use adjacent check-in desks in Zones F and G.  Airport owner BAA is currently spending millions of dollars bringing Terminal 3 up to similar standards as the new Terminal 5.

Other than the flights it is moving into Terminal 3, BA's entire operation at its home base are now housed in Terminal 5.

  • BA's Executive Club lounge in Terminal 1 will close on 27 January, to enable airport operator BAA to proceed with the building's redevelopment. For the four weeks from then until it moves its final flights from the building to Terminal 3, its passengers will be able to use the Star lounge at Terminal 1.

BA to offer more space in Club Europe:  British Airways is to offer passengers in Club Europe (shorthaul Business Class) cabin more space from 23 February by always leaving empty the middle seat in its rows of three - guaranteeing all passengers in this cabin a window or aisle seat.

Qantas adds Buenos Aires to its network:  Qantas has launched its new service between its Sydney hub and the Buenos Aires base of oneworld affiliate LAN Argentina, making it the first airline to operate non-stops between Australia and South America.  It is offering three round trips a week by Boeing 747-400s on the route.  Qantas will continue to code-share on LAN's six flights a week between Sydney and Santiago via Auckland.  It becomes the fifth oneworld carrier to serve the Argentine capital, alongside American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and LAN.

  • Qantas and its regional affiliate QantasLink are opening two new Australian domestic routes. The mainline airline will link Adelaide with Western Australia's Kalgoorlie from 1 March with an initial two round trips a week. QantasLink meantime will open flights between Townsville and Mount Isa, also from March.

BA to resume services to Saudi Arabia:  British Airways is to resume flights to Saudi Arabia, with five services a week from its London Heathrow hub to both Jeddah and Riyadh from 29 March.  It will serve Riyadh with Boeing 777s, and Jeddah with 767s.  BA suspended operations to Saudi Arabia in March 2005 because of the poor commercial performance of its flights, but the country has remained on the oneworld network through flights by other member airlines.  Royal Jordanian serves both Jeddah and Riyadh along with Dammam with Riyadh also receiving Cathay Pacific flights.

JAL to link Osaka Kansai with Seoul Gimpo from January:  Japan Airlines is to launch services between its Osaka Kansai hub and Seoul Gimbo from 10 January with daily Boeing 767s.  It already serves Gimpo from Tokyo.

More awards for oneworld airlines:  oneworld member airlines have taken four of the top awards in the latest Tested Awards from the US Global Traveler magazine and another four in the 2008 Business Traveler US Awards. 

In Global Traveler's awards, LAN was named Best Latin American Airline and Qantas Best in Australasia.   British Airways was top in the Best Business Class category, and American won Best Airline for Domestic First Class for the third year running.

BA also took six runners-up places - for World's Best Airline overall, First Class, Premium Economy, Transatlantic, Lounges and Frequent Flyer Programme.

American was among the runners-up in three categories - North American, Lounges and Frequent Flyer Programme.

Also runners-up were Cathay Pacific for Business Class, Qantas for South Pacific, Malév for East European and Japan Airlines for North Asia.

In Business Traveler's awards, Qantas was judged as offering the world's best business class, with American providing the best First Class within North America.   BA was honoured as best airline in Western Europe, while LAN retained its trophy as Best Business Class to South America for the third year running.

JAL to be first airline to trial flights with biofuel from energy crop:  Japan Airlines is to be the first airline to conduct a demonstration flight using a sustainable biofuel refined from the energy crop, camelina.  It will use a blend of half traditional kerosene and half biofuel on one of the four Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines on a Boeing 747-300 on a special flight from Tokyo Haneda on 30 January.  The biofuel will be a mixture of from camelina (84 per cent), jatropha (less than 16 per cent) and algae (less than 1 per cent).

Malév takes delivery of first Q400:  Malév Hungarian Airlines has taken delivery of the first of eight Q400 turboprops it will add to its fleet during the next few years as a key part of its fleet rationalisation strategy.  The aircraft are 30 per cent more fuel efficient per seat than the Fokker F70s and CRJ200s they will replace on the airline's regional routes.

oneworld in brief:  oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian, plus some 20 affiliates, including American Eagle, South Africa's Comair, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru.  Mexicana will join in 2009, with its subsidiary Click Mexicana as an affiliate.

Its airlines serve some 700 destinations in 150 countries and offer almost 550 airport lounges worldwide.   They carried around 320 million passengers last year.  It is the only alliance with any member airlines based in South America, Asia's Middle East or Australia.

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 Leading Airline Alliance for the fifth year running in the 2007 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170.000 travel professionals, including more than 110.000 travel agents in 200 countries.