oneworld today launched a platform for signing on new members, calling it oneworld connect. On the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Sydney today, they also unveiled the first member of the new shrunk up version of the alliance, Fiji Airways.
oneworld connect is the first new membership platform unveiled by oneworld since the alliance was originally announced 20 years ago. Each oneworld connect partner will need to have a minimum of three oneworld members as its sponsors to be initiated into the programme.
The rationale behind oneworld going for truncated membership criteria is their view that most of the world’s biggest airlines have already been signed up and global airline alliances have reached maturity. So, in the future, oneworld will target as full members large airlines that have a significant presence in the alliance’s prime target market, providing connections between the world’s leading business centres. Meantime, oneworld connect enables us to bring together more airlines to complement the alliance’s global leaders, so customers can earn rewards and feel recognised while travelling even further.
oneworld connect partners will provide select alliance benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights, with a more extensive range of benefits offered to their oneworld sponsors.
Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer programme will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available. Also, customers with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.
The additional benefits offered by oneworld connect partners to customers from their oneworld sponsors and vice versa include:
- Through check-in of passengers and their baggage for journeys including connections between a connect carrier and any of its oneworld sponsors.
- The ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer rewards, and earn frequent flyer status points, for eligible flights. (For customers from oneworld connect airlines, these benefits depend on the oneworld connect partner offering a frequent flyer programme.)
- Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.
Select other customer benefits may also be offered between oneworld connect partners and their oneworld sponsor airlines.
The sponsors of Fiji Airways will be all four of oneworld’s original founding members – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Qantas will additionally mentor Fiji Airways through the oneworld connect implementation process. American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas already code-share and have frequent flyer links with Fiji Airways. British Airways and Fiji Airways are currently discussing areas for potential bilateral cooperation.
oneworld is in discussion with other carriers interested in participating in the programme, from various parts of the world including the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
While Fiji Airways has been announced as the first oneworld Connect member, the alliance did not put a date for when those benefits would kick in.