One world of stars and skies

On 31 March 2004 Mexicana won the distinction of becoming the first operator to voluntarily drop out of the Star Alliance. The carrier’s termination from the grouping came after Mexciana decided to end its long-time codeshare agreement with Star member United Airlines.

Fast-forward a few years, and the big question about where Mexicana would end up has been answered. Yesterday, the carrier accepted a formal invitation to join the Oneworld alliance.

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Due to this development, I’m happy to announce that the Runway-Girlfriend-For-A-Day award goes to mister “anonymous” blog poster, who on 12 March made a comment that if he was a bookie, he’d be “slashing the odds on Mexicana” to join Oneworld.

Please step forward and accept your prize. I’ve got a load of laundry with your name on it.

While you’re folding neatly, I’d like to ask you about Brazilian carrier TAM (which flew my butt from JFK to Sao Paulo on Tuesday). I arrived at JFK from Philadelphia on a Bombardier CRJ200 operated by Delta subsidiary Comair. I didn’t need to re-check my bag at JFK through to Sao Paulo. Delta had already done that for me at Philly through the magic of interlining. But an agent at the Philly desk – who will remain nameless as I forget his name – seemed to think that TAM has designs on joining SkyTeam.

So I ask you mister anonymous (and your friends), do you think TAM might join SkyTeam. What about Star? That grouping’s CEO Jaan Albrecht, while at an event in Istanbul to mark Turkish Airlines’ new membership into Star, hinted that TAM would soon be unveiled as the alliance’s latest member. Star’s members are forming bilateral partnerships with TAM, often a precursor to formal alliance membership.

Okay, so back to the Oneworld announcement. It was made yesterday during a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by CEO Manual Borja with his counterparts from all ten of Oneworld’s established member airlines. Mexicana’s subsidiary Click Mexicana will join at the same time, as an affiliate member.

Oneworld says the process will take between 12- and 18 months to complete. Iberia will assist the process as sponsor of Mexicana.

“Mexicana is now moving into the next phase of our development strategy. Joining the world’s leading quality airline alliance will enable Mexicana to build on our excellent relationships with our established partners American Airlines and Iberia,” say Borja.

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