TAM and US Airways join Oneworld

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Brazil’s TAM and US Airways joined Oneworld today, in a move that the alliance called its biggest single day of growth since it was launched 15 years ago.

Both TAM and US Airways left Star Alliance for Oneworld, a departure caused by two mega airline mergers involving the two carriers. TAM merged with Oneworld member LAN to form LATAM Airlines Group, while US Airways had combined with American, also a Oneworld carrier.

The two carriers, both of which operated their last flights as Star airlines yesterday, will add almost 100 new destinations to the Oneworld network. TAM will add almost 45 new cities to the alliance map, while US Airways will contribute more than 50.

With the additional destinations, Oneworld will serve almost 1,000 cities in 150 countries, with 14,250 daily flights.

Oneworld board chairman and IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, in a joining ceremony at Sao Paulo today, calls TAM’s entry the “most significant step” the alliance had made in recent years.

TAM’s chief executive Marco Antonio Bologna says TAM’s Oneworld membership will help it connect with the world’s leading airlines and in particular, will reinforce its presence at London Heathrow and Madrid.

American Airlines Group chief executive Doug Parker calls Oneworld the “undisputed alliance leader”. “We want to restore American as the greatest airline in the world, and membership in Oneworld is one way we are doing that.”

TAM and US Airways are expected to increase the number of passengers carried by the alliance by a third, or about 120 million passengers a year. Available seat kilometres offered by Oneworld is expected to increase by 20%.

Oneworld will add another member on 1 May when SriLankan Airlines joins the alliance.