oneworld marks 20th anniversary with major benefits for customers
It all began in 1999 with a vision to create superior, seamless travel experiences for frequent flyers. Fast forward to present day and oneworld celebrates its 20th anniversary – that’s two decades of the global alliance, made up of 13 airlines, delivering more benefits for flyers of member airlines as well as special privileges and rewards, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network.
Since oneworld was launched its members have collectively boarded a total of seven billion customers, equivalent to today’s entire global population.
And when the CEOs oneworld member airlines met in London on February 1, 2019, they announced some radical transformations designed to increase the value that oneworld delivers to customers and to its member airlines into its third decade, while reflecting the substantial changes in the marketplace and the industry.
oneworld’s transformation includes:
- A new oneworld digital platform that will, as it is progressively rolled out, bring to life in the digital era the alliance’s core promise of seamless connectivity for customers flying on multi-sector, multi- airline journeys, via the convenience of their preferred member airline’s mobile app or website – without having to download any additional app or enter more log-in credentials.
- An increased level of alliance co-location projects at a number of key airports around the world – with plans to unveil the first oneworld branded, developed and managed lounge later this year.
- A fresh approach to corporate sales, enabling oneworld to respond much faster to requests for alliance contracts, which currently generate US$1 billion a year for member airlines. Since trials of the new process began six months ago, revenues have risen 10 percent. Dozens of the world’s biggest multinational corporations have signed corporate accounts with the alliance rather than a series of individual airline deals.
- A revised process for prospecting potential new members. The first airline to join as a result will be Royal Air Maroc, next year – oneworld’s first full member recruit for six years and its first from Africa.
- The alliance’s first new membership platform, ‘oneworld connect’ – designed with smaller, regional airlines in mind – with Fiji Airways’ entry as the first partner to join in this capacity to be completed by the end of next month. Talks are progressing with other airlines interested in signing, from the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific, enabling the alliance to spread its wings still further globally.
These changes are reflected in a sweepingly different brand positioning for oneworld, encouraging passengers to ‘Travel Bright’ – complete with a new oneworld.com website, both unveiled.
“In the two decades since oneworld was launched, the industry and consumer behaviours have changed fundamentally. Most of our member airlines have undergone comprehensive restructuring. Some have merged,” said oneworld CEO Rob Gurney.
“When oneworld first took off, hardly any airline offered online bookings. Smartphones were in the future. Social media did not exist. Airline fares included everything. Low-cost carriers were in their infancy.
“Since then, global alliances have grown greatly in terms of membership but, to be frank, they have failed to keep pace with the changes that their members, the industry at large and the marketplace have experienced,” explained Gurney.
“As we enter our third decade, we are undergoing a radical transformation, with a host of fresh initiatives to strengthen further the relevance of the alliance to our member airlines and our customers.”
oneworld was launched on February 1, 1999 by founding members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas. Since then, they have been joined by Finnair and Iberia in 1999, then LATAM (then LanChile) in 2000, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian in 2007, S7 Airlines in 2010, Malaysia Airlines in 2013, Qatar Airways in 2013 and SriLankan Airlines in 2014. Royal Air Maroc was invited into the alliance in December and is on track to join in 2020.
Around 30 airlines linked to the alliance’s full members are oneworld affiliate members, offering its full range of services and benefits.
Fiji Airways was introduced as the first oneworld connect partner in December 2018, offering a subset of the alliance’s services and benefits, and is on track for full implementation next month. Collectively, these airlines now:
- serve 1,100 airports in 180 territories, with 14,000 daily departures
- carry almost 550 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of 3,500 aircraft
- generate US$135 billion annual total revenues
oneworld member airlines work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience, with special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network. Top tier cardholders (Emerald and Sapphire) enjoy access to more than 650 airport lounges and are offered extra baggage allowances. The most regular travellers (Emerald) can also use fast track security lanes at select airports.
*Text and images courtesy of oneworld (www.oneworld.com)