Just shy of a clean dozen; Oneworld to unveil new member

It looks like Los Angeles is going to be THE place to be on April 9. The Oneworld alliance is holding a media briefing at 11:30 am that day, and chief executives from all ten members will be there to unveil the grouping’s latest airline recruit.

The announcement will come as Oneworld marks the first anniversary of its biggest expansion, with Japan Airlines and five of its subsidiaries, plus Malév Hungarian Airlines, Royal Jordanian, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador joining the alliance a year ago. Since then, Dragonair (owned by Cathay Pacific Airlines) has also boarded the grouping, notes the alliance in a media invite to the event.

The CEOs will gather in Los Angeles just days after the first stage of US-European open skies takes effect, and following member airline British Airways’ transition into the $8.6 billion new Terminal 5 at alliance hub London Heathrow (this is the first phase of Oneworld’s biggest yet airport co-location project), adds Oneworld.

Oneworld.bmpIn addition to Oneworld managing partner John McCulloch, the briefing will be hosted by the following heavy-hitters:

1) Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon (current chairman of Oneworld’s Governing Board)
2) American Airlines chairman and chief executive Gerard Arpey
3) British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh
4) Cathay Pacific Airways chief executive Tony Tyler
5) Finnair chief executive Jukka Hienonen
6) Iberia chairman and chief executive Fernando Conte
7) Japan Airlines Group chief executive Haruka Nishimatsu
8) LAN Group chief executive Enrique Cueto
9) Malév chief executive Peter Leonov
10) Royal Jordanian chief executive and deputy chairman Samer Majali

The chief executive of Oneworld’s new member-elect will also be in attendance. Now who do you think this 11th member is going to be?

Oneworld in the past has courted China Eastern Airlines. However, a recent co-operation agreement between China Eastern and China Southern Airlines could lead the former carrier to consider membership in the SkyTeam alliance. Russia’s S7 last year began exploratory talks with BA about the possibility of joining the global airline alliance.

If you’ve got the goods, let me direct you to the comment portion of this blog :)

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6 Responses to Just shy of a clean dozen; Oneworld to unveil new member

  1. Anon March 6, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    No inside knowledge here, but the event’s location does indicate a Chinese carrier is to be added. But regardless of who it is – and I’d rather like to see Continental jump ship; now that would be a shocker – does it really matter? Alliances were never meant to be the be all and end all of the airline business, and oneworld especially has failed to provide its members with anything substantive (and to be honest the anchors never really committed themselves or their money to the idea). Now with Air France-KLM making strong overtures to buying a stake in a Delta-NWA/whomever combo, and Asia’s carriers obviously taking the global lead, shouldn’t the industry as a whole just forget about expanding alliances once and for all and push for global liberalization. Really, joint purchasing – a cornerstone of the alliance concept – has all but failed, and joint marketing needs exemptions to competiton laws to really provide cost or revenue benefit. Is this not the time for the airlines to stop pretending alliances matter more than they do and start doing something to establish fundamental changes to the way the airline industry works?

  2. Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 8:49 pm #

    China Eastern is the only one of the ‘big three’ Chinese carriers still unallied. But I can tell you categorically that China Eastern won’t be turning up in LA on 9 April.

    When you consider that Oneworld doesn’t believe the Indian market is ready, it doesn’t leave many candidates in Asia. There’s Malaysia Airlines – but weren’t they last seen heading for SkyTeam?

    Los Angeles is a Latino city. Oneworld already has Iberia in Europe – perhaps it needs a companion to LAN in Latin America, particularly as Star seems to be making up for the loss of Varig by cosying up with TAM and TACA.

    Avianca hasn’t been falling over itself to find an alliance partner. But what about Mexicana? It’s no secret that Mexicana’s been cementing ties with Oneworld carriers recently and holds the alliance in high regard. Has its time in the wilderness since exiting Star made it want to rejoin a club?

  3. Anthony J Ashworth March 8, 2008 at 2:48 am #

    Jet Airways as an outsider to join Oneworld
    Code shares with Qantas, American, and with Airindia in Star oneworld could do with an Indian airline

  4. Anonymous March 8, 2008 at 11:01 pm #

    LA would be a strange choice for announcing Jet Airways as a member, unless the Oneworld CEOs are there for another reason. Jet Airways doesn’t even fly to LAX.

  5. Still anonymous March 12, 2008 at 9:03 am #

    It’s not Malaysia Airlines – and that’s official. If I was a bookie, I’d be slashing the odds on Mexicana.

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