The chief executives of the airlines making up the oneworld alliance met in London last week as it marked its 20th anniversary.
The alliance unveiled several initiatives which it says are designed to increase the value that oneworld gives to customers and member airlines “while also reflecting the substantial changes in the marketplace and the industry”.
The transformation includes a new digital platform designed to improve connectivity and what the alliance calls “increased co-location projects at key airports around the world”, with plans to unveil the first oneworld-branded, developed and managed lounge later this year.
Other new initiatives are a new process for corporate sales, a revised process for prospecting potential new members and a new membership platform called oneworld connect designed for smaller, regional airlines.
Oneworld Chief Executive Officer Rob Gurney said: “In the two decades since oneworld was launched, the industry and consumer behaviours have changed fundamentally. Most of our member airlines have undergone comprehensive restructuring. Some have merged.
“When oneworld first took off, hardly any airline offered online bookings. Smartphones were in the future. Social media did not exist. Airline fares included everything. Low-cost carriers were in their infancy.
“Since then, global alliances have grown greatly in terms of membership but, to be frank, they have failed to keep pace with the changes that their members, the industry at large and the marketplace have experienced. At oneworld, we are making up for that. As we enter our third decade, we are undergoing a radical transformation with a host of fresh initiatives to further strengthen the relevance of the alliance to our member airlines and our customers.”
Oneworld was launched on Feb. 1, 1999 by founding members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways and Qantas. Since then, they have been joined by Finnair and Iberia, on September 1, 1999, then LATAM (at that time LanChile) on June 1, 2000; Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian on April 1, 2007; S7 Airlines on November 15, 2010; Malaysia Airlines on February 1, 2013; Qatar Airways on October 30, 2013; and SriLankan Airlines on May 1, 2014.
Royal Air Maroc was invited into the alliance in December and is on track to join during 2020. Around 30 airlines linked to the alliance’s full members are oneworld affiliate members.