Oneworld moves headquarters to New York; names Ashby CEO

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After spending a decade residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Oneworld alliance has opted to relocate its headquarters to New York, and appointed airline industry veteran Bruce Ashby as CEO.

Oneworld says the move to New York will enable its central alliance team "to keep its finger right on the pulse of the world's single biggest air travel market".

New York is served by more flights by more Oneworld member airlines than any other city worldwide, with 10 of the alliance's 14 existing and designate members flying to at least one of its airports.

Premises for the new Oneworld headquarters have been secured on Park Avenue in Manhattan. They will also house the team managing the new transatlantic joint business launched by Oneworld partners American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia, and accommodate the New York offices of American, BA and a number of other member airlines.

Besides the 25-strong central Oneworld team, up to 210 employees from across the alliance's member airlines will be based there, in a largely "open plan" lay-out, designed to promote collaboration across the alliance teams, says Oneworld, adding: "The first of them should move in there in mid-summer 2011."

As part of the transition, Oneworld managing partner John McCulloch "has informed the Oneworld governing board that for family reasons he is not in a position to relocate", says Oneworld.

Consequently, Oneworld has named Ashby to succeed McCulloch as head of the alliance, and assume the position of CEO.

Ashby has spent the last five years leading carriers in India and the Middle East, as chief executive of IndiGo and then of SAMA Airlines. Prior to that, he spent 16 years working for US airlines, latterly as senior vice president alliances and then executive vice president marketing for US Airways.

Gerard Arpey, chairman of the Oneworld governing board and chairman and CEO of American says: "Our decision to relocate and consolidate offices in New York is another important accomplishment during a milestone year for oneworld. New York is a critical global hub for Oneworld and a key focus of our transatlantic joint business. As we transition to a new home we also thank Vancouver for its support during Oneworld's first decade."