aword from oneworld: June 2008

18 June 2008

LAN completes modernisation of shorthaul fleet:  LAN has completed the modernization of its shorthaul fleet with the retirement of the last of its Boeing 737-200s.  It now operates only Airbus A320 types - 40 in total - within its home region.  With the first of them delivered eight years ago, it means the airline is now operating one of the world's most modern and efficient shorthaul fleets.

JAL to roll out upgraded First and Business Classes on US routes:  Japan Airlines is to upgrade its First Class and Business Class - which it calls JAL Executive Class Seasons - when it introduces its new Boeing 777-300ERs, which debut on its route between its Tokyo Narita hub and New York JFK on 1 August, followed by San Francisco from mid-September and Chicago O'Hare and Los Angeles from April.  At the same time, it will extend its Premium Economy cabin to these routes.

Its new First Class JAL Suite will offer passengers "one of the largest and most luxurious personal spaces in the sky complemented by an unparalleled in-flight service experience for the ultimate in privacy, relaxation, dining, and entertainment".  Each aircraft will offer eight of the suites, laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing 20 per cent more space than at present.  The seats are designed to resemble armchairs, which convert at the flick of a switch into full-flat beds. With an ottoman at the opposite end of the compartment, they offer "one of the largest and widest, most comfortable sleeping areas" in the skies.   When in chair mode, the ottoman can be used by a "visitor".

Access to JAL's video and audio on demand entertainment is provided through 19 ins personal screens with Bose noise-cancelling headphones.  Passengers can order whatever they like to eat, and dine whenever the like, as often as they like, with a choice of Japanese or Western full-course menus.

Its JAL Executive Class Seasons business cabins will be fitted with new JAL Shell Flat Neo Seat, based on its existing award-winning JAL Shell Flat Seat but reclining further - to 171 degrees - and with its pitch and width increased.  For entertainment, 15,4 ins personal screens are being installed and more stowage areas for personal items added.

Malév raises baggage limit for Economy passengers in Europe:  Malév Hungarian Airlines has increased its checked baggage allowance for Economy passengers on its European routes.   They can now check in up to 23 kgs - 3 kgs more than before.  The change only relates to flights operated by Malév itself - not by those operated by code-share partners but carrying the MA prefix.

American reaches Russia with launch of Moscow-Chicago non-stops:  American Airlines has launched flights to Moscow from its Chicago O'Hare hub.  While it joined British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian in flying to the Russian capital, it is only the second US carrier to operate there and the first to serve the city from Chicago.  It is now flying the route six days a week, rising to daily next year, with Boeing three-class 777s featuring its next generation Business Class fully-reclining seats.

  • Malév Hungarian Airlines is to add three more flights a week between its Budapest base and Moscow Domodedovo from 3 July, giving a total of ten round trips a week.

Dublin is BA's tenth destination served from London City:  Dublin has become the tenth destination served by British Airways from London City with its subsidiary BA CityFlyer, which is a oneworld affiliate, launching flights to the Irish capital three times a day from the closest gateway to the UK capital's financial district. 

  • British Airways is to serve Venice from London Heathrow as well as from London Gatwick. It will fly to the historic Italian city from LHR's Terminal 5 daily from 26 October in addition to its existing three dailies to Veniezia Marco Polo Airport from London Gatwick. Venice is also served by oneworld partners Finnair, Iberia and Malév Hungarian Airlines.

Cathay adds Chennai to its network:  Cathay Pacific has opened service to Chennai with an initial four flights a week to and from its Hong Kong hub, as part of its expansion of schedules to India.  Chennai was already on the oneworld network through services by British Airways.

Finnair starts Seoul service:  Finnair has opened services to Seoul with non-stops from its Helsinki hub.   The South Korean capital has become its eleventh destination in Asia.  The city was served already by oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

Iberia launches flights to Dubrovnik:  Iberia has become the second oneworld carrier to serve Dubrovnik, flying to Croatia's "Pearl of the Adriatic" from its Madrid hub with two Airbus A320s a week, rising to three in the peak season.  Dubrovnik is already on the oneworld map through flights by British Airways.

Malév resumes Toronto flights:  Malév Hungarian Airlines has resumed its summer peak services between its Budapest base and Toronto and Budapest.  It is flying the routes five times a week with two-class Boeing 767-300ERs until the end of the summer.

BA's transfers more operations into London Heathrow Terminal 5:  British Airways has completed the second phase of its switch of operations into its new Terminal 5 base at its London Heathrow home, with its flights serving another eight destinations now using the facility - New York JFK, Abuja, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos and Phoenix. 

Already housed there since late March have been all BA's domestic flights, most of its European routes and a handful of longhaul.

Phase 3 of the move will take place on 17 September it will move another 30 daily departures and 30 daily arrivals, serving 29 destinations, with its transfer into the new building completed at the end of October.

The rest of its operations moving from Terminal 4 will follow at the end of October.  Its flights serving Australia, Bangkok and Sydney will move later to Terminal 3, where American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian already operate, and where Finnair, Iberia and Qantas will also move.

Qantas to offer Premium Economy to Los Angeles:  Qantas is to offer its new Premium Economy fourth cabin on flights serving Los Angeles from Sydney from 14 November and from Melbourne from 19 December.  The new service is already available on routes serving Hong Kong, London, Bangkok, Johannesburg and Singapore.

BA to upgrade facilities for premium passengers at New York JFK:  British Airways is to upgrade facilities for premium passengers at its New York JFK terminal, investing US$30 million to create a new check-in pavilion with a dedicated curbside drop-off facility for its First Class and top tier members of its frequent flyer programme, along with an enhanced check-in area for premium passengers and up-grading of its lounges. 

oneworld members take honours in OAG Airline of the Year awards:  oneworld member airlines took top honours in the OAG Airline of the Year awards, presented in London.  Its member airlines collected five top trophies, with British Airways named Best Transatlantic Airline and Best Business Class, Qantas taking top place as Best in Australasia/Pacific, LAN Best in Central, South America and Caribbean, and American Best Economy/Coach Class.

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, the 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.