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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

Oneworld Airline Alliance Celebrates 18th Anniversary

The global airline alliance, Oneworld, has celebrated the 18th anniversary of its existence having launched services and benefits on 1 February 1999.

To mark this milestone, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney reviewed oneworld’s progress and priorities in a speech at the Aviation Club of the UK today.

When it was formed, oneworld had five founding partners - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Canadian Airlines International, which was acquired by and merged into Star’s Air Canada after a few years.

Membership now stands at 14 airlines, with the addition, of Finnair, Iberia, LATAM, Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanian, S7, airberlin, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and SriLankan – plus around 30 “affiliate” members.

At its birth, less than a dozen airlines were members of any global airline group. Today, all but one of the world’s 20 biggest airlines have signed up to one of the three global alliances, with just nine of the Top 50 airlines unaligned.

Between them, the three global alliances now account for two-thirds of total industry capacity and revenues. With most of the world’s leading airlines already aligned, opportunities for membership growth had diminished, with the focus now more on adding value.

In its early days, oneworld’s members operated 6,200 daily flights to 632 destinations in 138 countries. Today, that has risen to 13,800 daily departures to 1,014 airports in 159 territories.

The combined fleet of oneworld member airlines now stands at some 3,500 aircraft, with member airlines employing a total workforce of more than 400,000 worldwide.

Passengers boarded by oneworld member airlines have more than tripled – from 177 million a year to 557 million, equivalent to more than the population of the European Union.

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