Oneworld to stay "selective" in membership

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Global alliance Oneworld views mainland China, India, Russia and Brazil as the remaining target areas for additional members as it prepares to add Mexicana as its eleventh carrier later this year.

At ten members currently Oneworld has less than half the 21 airline members of Star Alliance - which has another four in the process of joining the grouping.

Speaking at a press conference in Madrid to mark the tenth anniversary of the alliance, American Airlines chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey - who is the new chairman of the Oneworld governing board - said: "Our focus on quality has paid dividends, so as you would expect, we have been, and will remain, very selective about which airlines we regard as potential recruits.

"So as we welcome Mexicana and contemplate the future, there are just a few strategic regions of the world where we believe we could benefit from new members. These include, over time, mainland China, India, Russia and Brazil. Beyond those regions, we see relatively little opportunity for expanding our roster without diluting the quality we offer our customers, or the value the alliance creates for its existing members."

In China Oneworld has predominantly previously been linked with China Eastern Airlines as a potential alliance member. Air China is already a Star Alliance member, while China Southern Airlines is in SkyTeam.

In India and Brazil, Air India and TAM respectively are in the process of joining Star Alliance, while SkyTeam member Aeroflot is currently the only Russian carrier allied with a global alliance.

"Quite frankly, our approach differs from that of other alliances," says Arpey. "But we are convinced it is the approach that works best for our customers, employees and shareholders."