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American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey to chair oneworld

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – American Airlines chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey was today nominated chairman of the governing board of oneworld(R), the leading quality global airline allianc

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – American Airlines chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey was today nominated chairman of the governing board of oneworld(R), the leading quality global airline alliance, in succession to Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon, who has held the post for two years.

Gerard Arpey will act as “first among equals” of the chief executives of the grouping’s member airlines, leading oneworld as the alliance marks the tenth anniversary of its launch in February 2009, and as Mexicana joins the grouping as its newest member, along with its affiliate Click Mexicana, later in the year.

His tenure will come also as the grouping’s transatlantic carriers hope to gain anti-trust immunity to enable them to work together in the same way as their competitors in rival alliances, enabling them to unlock even more of the value of oneworld for customers with additional services and benefits.

Geoff Dixon, who retires as Qantas CEO at the end of next week, led oneworld through the alliance’s biggest expansion in its history, with the addition in 2007 of Japan Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, and Royal Jordanian and, as affiliates, four other airlines in the Japan Airlines group, plus Dragonair, LAN Argentina, and LAN Ecuador, and with Mexicana signed to join in 2009.

Mr. Dixon was accompanied at his final oneworld meeting – held at the London hub of British Airways – by his Qantas successor Alan Joyce, attending his first gathering of the alliance’s board.

oneworld managing partner John McCulloch, said: “Geoff Dixon has left some big shoes to fill as oneworld chairman, but I am delighted that Gerard Arpey has agreed to bring his skills, insight, and experience to bear in the wider oneworld arena. The chairmanship of the alliance when it was originally launched ten years ago was held by American Airlines, so this appointment brings us back full circle as we enter our second decade.”

Gerard Arpey said: “oneworld has made an important contribution in helping our partner airlines endure a tumultuous decade while achieving the best collective profitability in the airline business. The decade to come will surely bring big challenges, so we’re going to be working even harder to make sure oneworld creates value for our member airlines, and delivers more services and benefits to our customers. With that in mind, as Chairman I am very much looking forward to welcoming Mexicana, another high quality carrier, to the oneworld team.”

oneworld comprises some of the biggest and best names in the airline industry. Other members include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malev Hungarian Airlines, and Royal Jordanian, along with around 20 of their affiliates.

Between them, these airlines account for approximately 20 percent of the world’s total airline industry capacity. With member elect Mexicana, they:

— serve nearly 700 airports in approaching 150 countries;
— operate almost 9,500 daily departures;
— carry some 330 million passengers a year;
— employ 280,000 people;
— operate almost 2,500 aircraft;
— generate more than US$100 billion annual revenues; and
— offer nearly 550 airport lounges for premium customers.

oneworld 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.

One passenger in every 30 they flew last year, and almost four cents in every dollar of revenue they earned, was as a direct result of their cooperation with their various partners within oneworld, with the alliance’s fares and sales activities contributing US$725 million in revenues.

oneworld was voted the World’s Leading Airline Alliance for the fifth year running in the latest (2007) World Travel Awards.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.