The oneworld airline alliance named industry veteran Bruce Ashby its chief executive, replacing John McCulloch. The alliance also announced it will relocate its headquarters to New York. American and British Airways are among the members of oneworld.
The move from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, will enable the central alliance team to keep its finger on the pulse of the world's single biggest air travel market, with New York's airports used by 110 million passengers a year, the company said.
As part of the transition, oneworld’s McCulloch will leave to be succeeded by Ashby. After 16 years working for U.S. airlines, recently as senior vice president alliances and then executive vice-president marketing for US Airways, Ashby spent the past five years leading carriers in India and the Middle East, as chief executive of IndiGo and then of SAMA Airlines.
Gerard Arpey, chairman of oneworld and CEO of American Airlines, thanked McCulloch for his leadership and welcomed Ashby.
Ashby commented: "oneworld has set the benchmark in the increasingly important arena of airline alliances, with its grouping of best-in-class carriers from each region and its focus on quality and innovation. It is a privilege to be invited to succeed John McCulloch to lead oneworld forward, as it becomes an even more vital element of its member airlines' own strategies."
The new oneworld headquarters in New York will be at 2 Park Avenue, Manhattan. They will also house the team managing the new transatlantic joint business launched in October by oneworld partners American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia.
Besides the 25 member oneworld team, up to 210 employees from across the alliance's member airlines will be based in New York. The move to New York is the latest step taken by oneworld in what it describes as a breakthrough year for the alliance. Key achievements include:
• The addition of S7 Airlines, Russia's leading domestic carrier, last month.
• The signing of India's leading carrier Kingfisher Airlines and Europe's fifth biggest airline airberlin as members elect.
• The launch of a transatlantic joint business between American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia after gaining long-awaited anti-trust immunity in both the USA and Europe.
• Approval from authorities in both the U.S. and Japan for a joint business between American Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) covering their services North America and Asia, following JAL's reaffirmation of its oneworld membership earlier this year and its deepening of co-operation with its oneworld partners.
• British Airways and Iberia on track to complete their merger by the end of the year.
• LAN Airlines celebrating its 10th anniversary as a oneworld member on June 1.
oneworld includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 20 affiliates including American Eagle, Dragonair, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru. airberlin and India's Kingfisher Airlines are both members elect.