July 13, 2024

Oneworld to open global network of lounges

Oneworld will introduce a network of managed lounges this year and has rebranded the alliance to mark the its 20th anniversary.

Leaders of the 13 member airlines came together at an event in London to mark the occasion, where changes to its digital service delivery and the launch of a new website were also highlighted.

Rob Gurney, CEO of Oneworld, said: “Today we are relaunching oneworld. It a radical transformation. We have redefined what the strategy is and what the strategic plans are that we need in place.

“We want Oneworld to be seen as a different kind of alliance that empowers our customers, and we are delivering that through technology and messages delivered through 15-second adverts shown onboard.”

Gurney continued: “Oneworld is a very well-known brand, but we weren’t communicating the benefits effectively to our customers. These videos and the material conveys those benefits to customers.

“We have around 300 assets and a new website which has gone live today, and it allows us to have more conversations through social and digital channels.”

The alliance is “ramping up co-location activities at key airports around the world” and will unveil its first oneworld-branded lounge later this year – with more to be rolled out. A number of airports are said to be under consideration for development of its first lounge.

As part of the overhaul, Gurney also announced a Carrier Connect development. “Up until now, every customer who has had to transfer from one airline to another has had to go to an airline check-in. This removes that, and removes the need for multiple apps.”

The platform went live on December 18 last year with Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways connecting to the facility, with other airlines set to progressively join.

Discussing Oneworld Connect, AIG Chairman, Willie Walsh, said: “Aer Lingus will consider [it], and would like to look at the Oneworld alliance again. And given the way Oneworld has evolved, I think that’s a very real prospect.”

While IAG sister airlines British Airways and Iberia are Oneworld members, Aer Lingus is not.

“I think one of the reasons Aer Lingus left the alliance was due to the complexity of being a full member, which at the time was difficult for Aer Lingus to justify. I think the arrangements that Oneworld have put in place are much better suited to it.”

During the 20th anniversary event Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, responded to rumours that the airline could leave the alliance. “You can see me here today, and we are all together as a team, and we will be here as long as we can all speak together and resolve issues we have,” he said, before abruptly leaving the stage.

Royal Air Maroc will join the alliance in 2020 while Fiji Airways will become its first implemented Oneworld connect partner this March, increasing the alliance network to 1,100 destinations in 180 territories.