aword from oneworld: October 2008

22 October 2008

Five new destinations to join oneworld network in new flying season:  Five new destinations are to join the oneworld® map in the new flying season, which starts on Sunday, 26 October - three in Brazil and two in Asia. 

American Airlines is launching flights from Miami to three new Brazilian destinations - Recife (REC) and Salvador da Bahia (SSA) from 2 November and Belo Horizonte (CNF) two days later.

British Airways is bringing Hyderabad (HYD) on-line in December as the alliance's sixth gateway to India while Japan Airlines will start flying to Japan's new Mount Fuji Shizuoka airport when it opens for service early in the New Year.

Services between key alliance hubs to be up-graded:  Services between a number of key oneworld hubs are being upgraded in the new flying season, starting at the end of this month, making it easier for passengers to connect between the networks of the alliance's member airlines:

  • Finnair is to fly between its Helsinki hub and the Hong Kong home of Cathay Pacific daily, up from four a week last year.
  • Qantas is to resume its own services to the Buenos Aires base of LAN Argentina after a six-year break, with an initial three Boeing 747-400s a week from its Sydney base from 24 November. They will be the airline's first non-stops between Australia and South America.
  • British Airways is to serve New York JFK from London Gatwick from 27 October with daily four-class Boeing 777s - in addition to its existing 55 roundtrips a week between JFK and London Heathrow and its Newark schedule.

Other new routes being opened serving destinations already on the alliance map include:

  • Bloomington: Affiliate member American Eagle is to open a second route to the Illinois airport, from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub from 2 November with daily Embraer ERJ145 non-stops.
  • Geneva: British Airways is to serve the airport on the Swiss/French border from London City from 15 December, besides its flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick.
  • Hanoi: Affiliate member Dragonair is to serve the Vietnamese city from its Hong Kong hub from 26 October with daily Airbus A320s.
  • Ishigaki: Japan Airlines is to serve the Okinawa city from Nagoya Chubu with daily flights from 1 February.
  • Istanbul: Finnair will become the fifth oneworld airline to serve Istanbul, with an initial two flights a week from its Helsinki hub from 4 March.
  • Lyon: British Airways will serve the French city from London City, besides London Heathrow, from 15 December.
  • Rio de Janiero: American Airlines is to serve the Brazilian city non-stop from New York JFK between 19 December and the end of February.
  • St Kitts: British Airways is to open flights to the Caribbean island from London Gatwick from 10 January.

Cathay Pacific opens Hong Kong arrivals lounge:  Emerald tier members of any oneworld airline frequent flyer programme (FFP) flying to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific or Dragonair can use the airlines' new arrivals lounge there. 

Opened at the beginning of this month, The Arrival lounge is also available to First Class or Gold or above cardholders of their Marco Polo Club loyaly programme flying on services operated by Cathay Pacific or Dragonair with Hong Kong as their final destination.

Located landside, in the centre passage connecting Terminal 1 with Terminal 2, it is the first arrivals lounge offered by any airline at Hong Kong.

It provides a convenient place to freshen up before heading into the city centre.  Its design reflects that of the airline's established award-winning lounges at the airport - The Wing and The Pier.  Facilities and services offered include eight fully-equipped shower suites, a buffet dining area with a wide selection of quality food and drinks, desktop computers with internet connections, plus wifi connections, a full range of local and international newspapers.

American to offer premium passengers priority airport services:  American Airlines has just introduced an array of special services to make the airport and overall travel experience more convenient for its premium passengers - including Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby tier members of any oneworld partners' frequent flyer programme.

Throughout the airline's network (where available) their boarding passes will be marked "Priority AAcessSM", enabling them to board via a priority lane and at their convenience any time during the boarding process. They will also be eligible to use exclusive security screening lanes where available - currently, at Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago O'Hare, Miami, Los Angeles, New York JFK and La Guardia, St Louis, San Francisco and San Juan (Puerto Rico).  These "Priority AAcessSM" customers will also continue to be able to use dedicated check-in desks. 

Malév rolls out on-line check-in:  Malév Hungarian Airlines now enables passengers to check-in on-line for any flight from its Budapest hub.  They can select their seat and print their own boarding pass up to 23 hours before departures up to 50 minutes before departure time.  At the airport, those with baggage to check-in can then go straight to a "drop off" desk, while those without hold luggage can go straight to the gate.

The service is available at this stage only for flights from Budapest, but the airline has plans to extend it to departures from all its destinations and to offer the ability to check-in for connecting flights.  Malév already enables customers to check themselves in for flights from Budapest, using self-service kiosks.

Customers can also now modify their Malév booking via the airline's website.  If a change is made, an updated e-ticket is issued once payment, if required, has been made on-line.

Iberia offers ‘dine-before-boarding' service on Russian and Israeli routes:  Premium passengers flying with Iberia from its Madrid hub to Moscow, St Petersburg and Tel Aviv can now dine on the ground before boarding in the airline's Velázquez VIP lounge in Terminal 4's satellite, maximising their time for sleep in-flight.  The dine-before-boarding service was already available for premium passengers flying with the airline to Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo.

BA extends ‘upgrade before you fly' offer to London Heathrow:  British Airways is extending its "upgrade before you fly" option to its main London Heathrow hub.   The provision enables customers to pay at the airport, or on-line before they fly, for an upgrade from Economy to Club Europe, on shorthaul flights, or World Traveller Plus on longhaul.  The upgrades cost from GBP100 on European flights and from GBP180 longhaul.  The scheme is already available from London Gatwick.

More top awards won:  British Airways emerged as one of the big winners in the 2008 Business Traveller Awards, taking top prizes for Best Shorthaul Carrier, Best Frequent Flyer Programme and Best Business Class.  American was named Best North American Airline.  BA was runner-up in another six categories - for Best Airline, Best Longhaul Airline, Best First Class, Best Premium Economy and Best Economy - with Cathay Pacific a runner-up in four classes, for Best Airline, Best First Class, Best Cabin Staff and Best Asian Airline.  Malév Hungarian Airlines was a runner-up as Best Eastern European Airline.

Eight of the world's 20 best performing airlines are oneworld members:  Eight of the world's 20 best performing mainline legacy airlines are oneworld members, according to a survey by Aviation Week magazine.  The alliance has more members rated as "best performers" than any of its competitors, with Star claiming five places in the top 20 and SkyTeam three.

Iberia is oneworld's top rated company, at third in the overall list. Also featured in the top ten are Qantas, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, LAN, Japan Airlines and American Airlines.

The results are based on analysis by a panel of experts, using stringent financial criteria, including liquidity, economic state, response to rising fuel prices and excess capacity, earnings performance, asset utilisation and cost efficiency.  The survey is designed to "provide a clear baseline to identify those carriers that are likely to survive and those that are highly vulnerable to business failure".

Affiliate member Loganair withdraws from oneworld:  Affiliate member Loganair will, as announced a year ago, withdraw from oneworld on 25 October, when its franchise agreement with alliance member British Airways comes to an end.  The move will result in the loss of oneworld service to 12 destinations, mainly in the Scottish highlands and islands - Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Derry, Kirkwall, Inverness, Islay, Isle of Man, Stornaway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick. British Airways will continue to code-share on Loganair thereafter.  For further information, see

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.

oneworld's 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.