Oneworld Alliance firmly believes the Asia-Pacific region has the greatest growth potential for alliance businesses.

At yesterday’s Congress, John McCulloch, managing partner at alliance Oneworld, says that of the world’s 50 biggest full-service passenger airlines, 36 have already signed up to an alliance programme, and 12 of the world’s 16 carriers still not affiliated to an alliance partnership are from the Asia-Pacific region.

“With the forecast increases in demand in this region, this would suggest Asia-Pacific to be the area of biggest potential growth for the alliances,” says McCulloch. “It is no coincidence that this has been where our main focus in the past two years has also been.”

McCulloch adds that his business is seriously looking to increase its alliance family, while more business travellers require a service that will give them hub access across the region. “We’re interested in carriers who can add value to the existing route network, rather than simply duplicating what our existing members already offer,” he says.

“We look for airlines that can help us increase our presence in key strategic regions of the world, where growth in demand is forecast to be high – places like India, Mainland China and Russia.” However, he warned: “We only consider airlines that are already financially sound, and who have good safety regimes.”

A significant attraction to Oneworld’s offering, McCulloch says, is its ability to reduce expenditure for its members. “In terms of cost-cutting, our alliance purchasing activities alone have now saved our member airlines a total of almost $300 million. This has come from a wide range of areas – from customer commodity items through to fuel but mostly in the past year from the big buck areas of engineering and maintenance. We are also making big savings from sharing more facilities on the ground.”

The company is also putting a lot of effort into co-location of airport facilities and has located to a number of new sites over the past 12 months, including Madrid, Bangkok and Tokyo Narita and is looking to move to Beijing and Shanghai Pudong with the opening of their new terminals.

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Source: Flight Daily News