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Fiji Airways will debut new oneworld category

June 6, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Fiji Airways is to become the first member of a new oneworld category that will broaden membership of the airline alliance worldwide.

Oneworld Connect (or oneworld connect as the alliance styles it, not liking capital letters) is a new platform for linking to oneworld. The alliance says it will enable customers to enjoy more services and benefits across a more extensive global network.

Essentially, oneworld connect partners will provide benefits to the oneworld frequent flyers who fly with them – but not the full spectrum of benefits provided by oneworld full members.

The date when Fiji Airways will join has yet to be announced.

Oneworld connect is the first new membership platform unveiled by the alliance since it was formed 20 years ago. The alliance is talking with other carriers interested in participating in the program. They include airlines in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Each oneworld connect partner will require a minimum of three oneworld members as its sponsors to be initiated into the program.  The initial oneworld sponsors of Fiji Airways will be all four of oneworld’s original founding members – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.  Qantas will mentor Fiji Airways through its 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 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 with their oneworld sponsors.

Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer program 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 program.
  • Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.

Other customer benefits may also be offered between oneworld connect partners and their oneworld sponsor airlines.

All oneworld connect partners will make their networks available via Global Explorer, the round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld members and select other airlines. Fiji Airways already does so.

Additionally, all oneworld connect partners will be required to maintain IATA IOSA safety certification.

Explaining the rationale, oneworld chief executive Rob Gurney said: “oneworld’s current network of more than 1000 destinations in 150 plus territories offers far-reaching global coverage, but there are still some regions where we would like to strengthen our presence further.

“With fewer potential new candidates available to recruit based on our established membership criteria, oneworld connect enables us to link up with other airlines whose networks are relevant to a subset of our members, who cannot meet oneworld’s full membership requirements at this stage or who are not interested in full membership at present.

“This enables us and them to offer our customers more services and benefits across an even wider network and strengthen our relationship going forward, with a streamlined and rapid path to full membership later on where it makes sense for all parties.”

Oneworld’s chairman Pekka Vauramo, chief executive of Finnair, added: “In the 20 years since oneworld’s conception in 1998, global airline alliances have expanded their breadth to the extent that they now account for 60% of total industry revenues and capacity globally, and 70% of revenues between the world’s top 125 business city airports.

“With most of the world’s biggest airlines already signed up, global airline alliances have reached maturity, 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.”

Edited by Peter Needham

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