The CEOs of oneworld member airlines today met in London to unveil a radical transformation of the global alliance as it marks the 20th anniversary of its launch.
The moves are 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 since oneworld originally took off on 1 February 1999.
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 per cent. 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 today.
What the CEOs say
oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “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. 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. At oneworld, we are making up for that. 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.”
LATAM Airlines Group CEO Enrique Cueto said: “We are proud to be a longstanding member of oneworld, having represented the alliance in South America since 2000. As part of oneworld, our customers can take advantage of unrivalled connectivity, frequent flier benefits and airport services not only in the region, but across the alliance’s global network. With the transformations announced today, we will continue to offer further benefits to meet the needs of today’s passenger, including a streamlined digital experience via the LATAM app and improved airport services across the globe as part of oneworld’s renewed brand proposition.”
oneworld was launched on 1 February 1999 by founding members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas. Since then, they have been joined by Finnair and Iberia, on 1 September 1999, then LATAM (then LanChile) on 1 June 2000, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian on 1 April 2007, S7 Airlines on 15 November 2010, Malaysia Airlines on 1 February 2013, Qatar Airways on 30 October 2013 and SriLankan Airlines on 1 May 2014. Royal Air Maroc was invited into the alliance in December and is on track to join during 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.