The launch of the new, long-promised joint business between American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia - announced today - will mean more access to cheaper fares, bigger choice of flight times and easier connections for transatlantic flyers, the CEOs of the three oneworld member airlines said. The new trilateral relationship will also enable oneworld to compete more effectively with other global alliances on routes between Europe and North America. The impact on frequent flyers programs will be substantial as well.
The three carriers also announced four new routes that will start next April as an early benefit of the new joint business. They are: New York JFK-Budapest and Chicago-Helsinki (operated by American), London Heathrow-San Diego (operated by British Airways) and Madrid-Los Angeles (operated by Iberia).
The airlines have also placed codeshares on a significant number of additional routes, greatly increasing the number of destination choices available to customers. American will add its code to 322 British Airways and Iberia flights serving 101 destinations, British Airways will add its code to 2063 American and Iberia flights serving 181 destinations and Iberia will add its code to 354 American and British Airways flights serving 96 destinations.
The carriers said there will be further opportunities to increase codeshares in the future. In total, customers will be able to travel more easily on the airlines' combined route network which will serve more than 400 destinations in 105 countries with around 5,200 daily departures.
Other customer benefits cited by the partners include:
* Greater access to a wider choice of fares
* Coordinated schedules on joint routes to provide customers with better flight choice and timings
* Dedicated support teams for customers transferring at five of the airlines' hubs: New York JFK, London Heathrow, Madrid, Chicago and Miami.
* Online check in and boarding pass printing with either the airline operating the flight, or the one the ticket was booked through
* Integrated online flight information on all three airlines' websites
* Increased opportunity to earn and redeem frequent flyer benefits on trans-Atlantic flights
* More integrated account management for corporate customers
"We've been waiting for 14 years to be able to bring these benefits to our customers and it's great news that we can now put our plans into action," Gerard Arpey, chairman and CEO of AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines, said. "Our revenue-sharing partnership will further boost oneworld, in what has been a momentous year for the alliance, and enable us to reduce costs and attract new business. It will provide additional stability for the airlines and our customers, employees and shareholders and allow us to invest in new products and services."
"Today's route announcement is a great example of how by working together we can benefit customers," Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, commented. "Combined selling and scheduling means that we will able to operate routes that would not have been viable for us to operate individually. This partnership will provide a one-stop shop for transatlantic travel regardless of how you book, which of our airlines you fly with or where you want to transfer."
"The growth potential of our joint business and the extra capacity Madrid offers will enable Barajas airport to become one of the main gateways for flights between North America and Europe in the very near future," Antonio Vazquez, chairman and chief executive of Iberia, added. "So we will be offering our customers more travel choices, but we will also offer them a better travel experience. Our employees have an essential role in this aim. Around 12,000 employees of the three companies at airports and call centers have been trained to ensure that all these benefits are delivered to our customers."
The three carriers launched their joint business after receiving approval from regulatory authorities earlier this year. The three airlines can now co-operate commercially on flights between the EU, Switzerland and Norway and the U.S., Canada and Mexico. All three are oneworld alliance members.
Specifically, the airlines said the alliance means more destinations, more flights and therefore more fares to choose from. Customers can travel more easily on all three airlines’ combined route network to 400 destinations in 105 countries with 5,200 daily departures. This provides more frequent and convenient schedule options than any of the three carriers could offer individually. By working together, the three airlines can expand customer choice by supporting routes that would not be economically viable for a single airline.
Under the trans-atlantic joint business, members of American Airline’s AAdvantage, British Airways’ Executive Club and the Iberia Plus scheme will be able to earn and redeem miles on each airline’s flights between the U.S. and the UK making all routes flown by British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia eligible for earning and redeeming miles.