oneworld marks addition of Japan Airlines by linking with Visit Japan Campaign in drive to boost tourism to Japan
oneworld®, the world's leading quality global airline alliance, today announced a series of major initiatives to promote tourism and business travel to Japan to mark the forthcoming addition to the grouping of Japan Airlines.
JAL will join oneworld on 1 April, with five of its associated airlines boarding alongside it as affiliates -JALways, Japan Asia Airways, JAL Express, J-AIR and Japan Transocean Air. On the same day, Malév Hungarian and Royal Jordanian will start offering oneworld services and benefits too - in the alliance's biggest expansion since its launch eight years ago.
The drive to encourage more international visitors to fly to Japan was unveiled at a ceremony to welcome JAL to oneworld, held in Tokyo today and attended by the Chief Executives of all the alliance's existing airlines and new joiners, meeting in JAL's home base for the first time since it was elected on board the grouping.
The initiatives come under the umbrella of a new one-year exclusive partnership between oneworld and the Visit Japan Campaign, led by Japan's Ministry for Land, Infrastructure and Transportation and through which the Japanese Government aims to double the number of foreign tourists holidaying in the country - from around 5 million in 2003, when the campaign was originally launched, to 10 million a year by 2010.
It means that this drive is now supported by an airline grouping carrying some 315 million passengers a year on more than 9,000 flights a day from almost 700 destinations in 150 countries worldwide, earning US$85 billion in revenues a year.
All ten airlines in the new oneworld line-up will participate in this programme. This is believed to be the first time every airline in an alliance has been involved in an initiative of this kind anywhere in the world.
Projects in support of the programme will vary by airline, but will include such activities such as special fares for travel to Japan, frequent flyer incentives, promotions through in-flight videos and magazines, mailings to frequent flyers and on websites, sponsorships, participation in trade shows, links with tour operators and facility trips for travel professionals and journalists.
In addition, oneworld today launched a special alliance fare for travellers to the country - with the Yokoso! Visit Japan pass the latest in its family of air passes offering great value flights on any of the grouping's members within the region in conjunction with international flights there.
Japan Airlines today also unveiled a special oneworld livery that will be painted on two of its Boeing 777s from April to mark its accession to the alliance. One will fly on domestic routes and the other internationally.
The alliance's Visit Japan Campaign initiatives are part of a concerted drive by the alliance - titled oneworld Japan Tourism Promotion - to boost travel both to and from Japan, as JAL joins the grouping.
So, besides the activities of all oneworld member airlines to drive Japanese inbound tourism, the alliance's six carriers with flights to and from Japan - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Qantas besides Japan Airlines - will conduct promotional activities together throughout Japan from 1 April in a programme designed to encourage residents of Japan to travel abroad on the alliance's newly expanded network.
Apart from supporting the Japanese government's Visit Japan Campaign, this overall programme is also expected to deliver considerable benefits for Japan Airlines too, by generating additional passengers and revenue in line with its Revival Plan. JAL expects that its oneworld membership will benefit it through at least JPY3.5 billion (US$30 million) in additional revenue alone in its first year.
JAL Group Chief Executive Haruka Nishimatsu said: "On behalf of oneworld, we are delighted to be able to support the Visit Japan Campaign through these initiatives. We hope that the alliance's efforts will increase awareness and interest in Japan worldwide. We look forward to welcoming all who come. This is the first major project JAL and the nine other member airlines in the new oneworld line-up have worked together on. We are delighted to see that this new partnership is already bearing fruit."
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "oneworld is in business to add value for customers and our member airlines. Combining our energies behind the Visit Japan Campaign to mark Japan Airlines joining us is a great way of achieving both objectives at the same time."
Also at today's ceremony, Gerard Arpey, Chairman and Chief Executive of American Airlines, sponsor of JAL in its oneworld joining programme, formally welcomed the new recruit on board, ahead of its 1 April joining date.
Speaking on behalf of his counterparts at the other oneworld member airlines, he said: "When we were looking for parts of the world where we wanted to grow and strengthen oneworld's presence, Japan was at the top of the list, so we are really thrilled to be welcoming JAL on board. This is great news for us all, and for our customers, who will enjoy better access to Japan and a more streamlined travel experience. With Cathay Pacific, Qantas and now Japan Airlines, oneworld has three of the leading airlines in the Asia-Pacific region as members. That enables us to offer an unmatched network in this region."
Alongside them at today's event were:
- Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon (current chairman of oneworld's Governing Board)
- British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh
- Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Philip Chen
- Iberia Chairman and Chief Executive Fernando Conte
- LAN Group Chief Executive Enrique Cueto
- Finnair Chief Executive Jukka Hienonen
- Royal Jordanian Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman Samer Majali
- Malév Chief Executive János Gönci
When it becomes part of oneworld on 1 April, the 19.5 million members of the JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) frequent flyer programme, will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers. JMB Diamond and Sapphire and JAL Global Club Premier cardholders will also have access to the 400 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance's airlines.
From the same date, members of the established oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on JAL, along with Malév and Royal Jordanian, whose networks will also be covered by oneworld's extensive range of alliance fares and sales products.
The 18-month implementation programme to prepare JAL for its oneworld membership is now almost complete. It now offers interline e-ticketing (IET) with all its prospective oneworld partners, with its final cutover implemented last week with Royal Jordanian. oneworld has been the only alliance with interline e-ticketing (IET) between all of its member airlines since April 2005.
Virtually all the necessary internal processes and procedures have already been brought into line with the alliance's requirements. Thousands of its employees have participated in a special training programme to ensure they can deliver the alliance's services and benefits from Day One, and dozens of its IT systems linked to those at the other oneworld airlines.
JAL has already joined the alliance's Global Explorer round-the-world fare product, which includes some other carriers which are not part of the alliance, and will participate in all the alliance's other fares and sales products from 1 April.
Also today, the alliance's consolidation alongside JAL at its main international hub Tokyo Narita is completed, with Finnair transferring from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. American Airlines and Cathay Pacific switched across in January, with Qantas already based there, in the alliance's biggest consolidation project so far in the Asia-Pacific region, substantially smoothing and speeding connections for passengers transferring there between these airline's flights.
About Japan Airlines
JAL was the largest airline in the world not aligned to a multilateral global alliance until it lined up to join oneworld. It is the biggest carrier in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the top airlines in the world on any count. On virtually every measure, it becomes one of the biggest three airlines in oneworld.
With its five oneworld affiliates, it will add nearly 50 destinations to the alliance network - almost 40 of them in Japan, and the rest in China and elsewhere in Asia. JAL will bring one new territory onto the oneworld map, in Guam.
oneworld enables its member airlines to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.
Three other airlines are lining up to become part of oneworld in 2007 - Dragonair, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador, all as affiliate members. Joining dates for these three carriers will be announced in due course. With JAL, Malév and Royal Jordanian, they will expand the size of the alliance substantially, to:
- Almost 700 airports, around a hundred more than now.
- Nearly 150 countries.
- 9,000 daily departures, a thousand more than today.
- Around 315 million passengers, 65 million more than at present.
- 265,000 employees.
- Almost 2,500 aircraft.
- US$85 billion revenues, up by a third.
oneworld is the only alliance whose members collectively achieved a profit in their latest full financial years – of US$1.8 billion net, while SkyTeam members lost nearly US$5 billion and Star's plunged more than US$20 billion into the red.
It was voted the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the fourth year running in the 2006 World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by some 170,000 travel professionals, including more than 110,000 travel agents in 200 countries.