Oneworld turns 20, guarantees more benefits for passengers

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A Qantas Boeing 747-400ER in oneworld livery at Brisbane Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

As it enters its third decade, the oneworld marketing alliance is promising greater integration and a more seamless experience for those travelling on its member airlines.

Established in February 1999 with American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas as its four inaugural members, oneworld recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in London with 13 airlines and their various affiliates {in its|in the} ranks.

{Over the past|In the last|Within the last} 20 years, that initial four have been joined by Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways.

And looking further ahead, Royal Air Maroc was announced as oneworld’ s newest full member {in December|keep away from} 2018 and was {expected to|likely to|anticipated to} be formally admitted {to the|towards the|for the} club by 2020.

The alliance {has also|has additionally|in addition has} introduced a new category of membership for airlines that {wish to|desire to|want to} join the alliance {but do not|smaller|in addition to} have either the resources, or need, to offer full reciprocity of frequent flyer benefits and integration with the {rest of the|remaining|remaining portion of the} full oneworld membership called oneworld connect.

Fiji Airways is the first oneworld connect member.

Fiji Airways chief executive Andre Viljoen in from of the airline's Boeing 737 MAX 8 featuring the oneworld connect logo. (oneworld)

Fiji Airways chief executive Andre Viljoen in from of the airline’ s Boeing 737 MAX 8 featuring the oneworld connect logo. (oneworld)

oneworld announced {at its|in its} 20th anniversary event {it was|it had been|it absolutely was} building a new digital platform, called carrierconnect, that would allow passengers with connecting flights on oneworld airlines to checkin, obtain boarding passes, track baggage, receive flight updates and pay for additional services through their preferred airline’ s mobile app or website.

Future functionality included being able to pay to being extra bags, select seats (even those requiring payment) and the display of airport information such as the location of premium passenger lounges and priority lanes.

oneworld said the carrierconnect platform facilitated the exchange of interline data in a standardised format through individual member airline apps and websites to allow passengers to access these features, {which would|which may|which could} be progressively rolled out through 2019.

Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways were the first oneworld members to connect up in this way, {with other|along with other|to} member airlines to be linked up over the next 12-18 months.

“ Cathay Pacific was proud to play our part in founding oneworld 20 years ago and establishing it as {the leading|the best|the primary} quality alliance, ” Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg said in a statement.

“ And we are proud today to be playing our part again in transforming the alliance, {moving forward|continuing to move forward|continue} to deliver more benefits {both for|for both} our customers and our fellow member airlines as the alliance flies into its third decade and beyond. ”

[embedded content]
VIDEO: A promotional video celebrating oneworld’ s 20th anniversary from the alliance’ s YouTube channel .

oneworld noted about eight million passengers a year had trips that included a connecting flight between its member airlines.

Therefore , this functionality {would allow|will allow} those passengers to be able to checkin for their journey online {without needing to|while not having to} visit a checkin desk {at the|in the|on the} airport.

“ The role of global alliances, like oneworld, is to connect the networks of airlines, making it easier and more rewarding {for customers|can be} to travel to many more places beyond the reach of any single carrier, ” oneworld chief executive Rob Gurney said in a statement.

“ Our new digital platform brings our promise of seamless connectivity {to life|to our lives|alive} in the digital era – delivering multi-airline, multi-sector journeys the way they should be in this millennial day and age. ”

Gurney said about half of oneworld airline frequent flyer members had at least three airline apps on their {mobile devices|mobile phones}. However , there was a strong presence for using just one app to cover a trip involving connecting flights.

“ Yet, until today, the technology to support that has not been available. It is now, progressively throughout the oneworld network, ” Gurney said.

“ From the trials and consumer research we have conducted as part of this development, {we know|we all know|we realize} our customers are going to {love it|like it|enjoy it}. ”

The bosses of oneworld member airlines celebrate the alliance's 20th birthday. (oneworld)

The bosses of oneworld member airlines celebrate the alliance’ s 20th birthday. (oneworld)

Cabin crew from oneworld member airlines celebrate the alliance's 20th birthday. (oneworld)

Cabin crew from oneworld member airlines celebrate the alliance’ s 20th birthday. (oneworld)

Airlines to work on greater co-location efforts at airports

oneworld said {it would|it might|it could} step up its co-location activities at various airports {around the world|all over the world|around the globe} in the year ahead, including the opening of the alliance’ s first branded lounge later in 2019.

{The location|The place|The positioning} of the oneworld branded and operated lounge would be announced at a later date.

{The aim of|The purpose of|The goal of} the co-location activities {was to|was going to} bring its member airlines together under one roof at as many airports {as possible|as you possibly can|as you can}, particularly at busy hub airports with large amounts of connecting traffic.

This would help reduce connection times and make the transfer process smoother.

{Some of|A few of|A number of} this work is already underway in places such as Frankfurt and Sao Paulo, {where the|in which the|the location where the} building on new passenger terminals offered the opportunity for oneworld airlines to have a greater level of co-location than {is currently|happens to be} the case.

Or at Beijing, where the new Beijing Daxing International could effort the 10 oneworld airlines that serve the Chinese capital to bring their operations under the same terminal.

SriLankan Airlines is an oneworld alliance member.(SriLankan Airlines)

SriLankan Airlines is an oneworld alliance member. (SriLankan Airlines)

“ We are working on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities at some of our most important gateways in Asia, the Americas and Europe with the {aim of|purpose of} delivering the best experience {for customers|can be} at each of these locations, ” Gurney said.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who is the current chairman {of the|from the|in the} oneworld governing board, said these initiatives would ensure the alliance remained relevant amid changes in consumer behaviour and passenger expectations.

Joyce said although global alliances had grown greatly in terms of membership, {they had|that they had|they’d} “ failed to keep pace with {the changes|all of the changes|the alterations} that their members, {the industry|the} at large and the marketplace have experienced”.

“ At oneworld, we are {making up|creating|getting back together} for that, ” Joyce said in a statement.

“ As we enter our third decade, we are undergoing a radical transformation, {with a|having a|using a} host of fresh initiatives to strengthen further the relevance of the alliance to our member airlines and our customers. ”

“ We are stepping up that cooperation and modernising how we {work together|interact|come together} to make oneworld even more {relevant to|highly relevant to|strongly related} international travellers and to its member airlines. ”

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce speaks to invited guests and media at the oneworld 20th anniversary event. (oneworld)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce speaks to invited guests and media at the oneworld 20th anniversary event. (oneworld)

oneworld {is the|may be the|will be the} second oldest of the three global airline marketing alliances alongside Star Alliance, {which was|that was|that has been} established in May 1997, and SkyTeam founded in 2000.

Together, the trio carry about half {of the|from the|in the} world’ s annual air passengers.

The member airlines of the three alliances are almost exclusively comprised of full-service carriers, with low-cost carriers (LCC) largely out of the picture.

However , in recent times LCCs {have also|also have|have} shown an openness {to come|ahead|in the future} together as part of a marketing alliance such as pan-Asian Value Alliance, North Asian U-Fly Alliance set up in 2016.

There is also the Vanilla Alliance, which comprises a number of carriers based in the Indian Ocean region.

Cabin crew from Value Alliance airlines. (Value Alliance)

Cabin crew from Value Alliance airlines. (Value Alliance)

Airlines also willing to look beyond alliances for partnership opportunities

While oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance tout the benefits of closer cooperation for their member airlines in terms of corporate sales, joint-procurement and cost savings, not to mention the passenger experience, there are plenty of examples around the world where carriers have sought partnerships with airlines outside their alliance.

In this part of the world, Qantas {has a|includes a|contains a} global alliance with non-aligned Emirates primarily covering destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East and a partnership with SkyTeam carrier China Eastern for the China market.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand (Star Alliance) and Cathay Pacific (oneworld) {have a|possess a|have a very} joint-venture covering New Zealand-Hong Kong routes .

A file image of Emirates and Qantas aircraft at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

A file image of Emirates and Qantas aircraft at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)