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LanChile and Aer Lingus ready to board the alliance that revolves around you

Aer Lingus and LanChile will become fully fledged members of oneworld™ in the next few months, offering its full range of customer services and benefits.

A firm date will be announced once final computer tests have been completed in the next couple of weeks, the airline alliance revealed at the quarterly meeting of its governing board today, in Santiago, home base of LanChile - the group's first meeting in Latin America.

Another key landmark in the development of oneworld comes next week, with the establishment of its central management company, in Vancouver, charged with driving the alliance's future growth and the launch of new customer services and benefits.

Led by Peter Buecking, previously Sales and Marketing Director with Cathay Pacific Airways, as oneworld Managing Partner, this small central team will lead the work currently spread across project groups drawn from the member airlines, achieving greater cost efficiency while speeding development times, monitoring quality standards and ensuring a shared vision.

Since LanChile and Aer Lingus were elected on board oneworld last year, their employees have been undergoing intensive training programmes to ensure they can deliver the oneworld customer promise, and scores of man years of work have been carried out to ensure computer systems can link to those in other oneworld carriers.

Don Carty, Chief Executive of American Airlines and the current Chairman of the oneworld governing board, said: "We look forward to welcoming the customers of Aer Lingus and LanChile on board oneworld and extending the benefits of the world's most customer-focussed alliance to travellers from and to Ireland and Latin America. Both carriers are fine additions to our alliance, with strong reputations for high quality service. LanChile has been described as the `lone star in Latin American aviation', and Aer Lingus is achieving growing acclaim for its unique service style."

Enrique Cueto, LanChile's Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to be hosting the chief executives of the other seven oneworld carriers here in Chile, for their first meeting in Latin America - and very much look forward to the day, just months away now, when LanChile will become a fully fledged member of the alliance.

"This is a very important occasion for LanChile, as we take our place beside some of the best airlines in the world. We look forward to this opportunity to expand the service we offer our customers. We also look forward to welcoming on board new customers from around the world and demonstrating to them our dedication to providing world class service to and from Latin America."

Larry Stanley, Group Chief Executive of Aer Lingus, said: "All of us at Aer Lingus are very much looking forward to working with our new colleagues in building the world's leading and most customer focussed airline alliance, and ensuring the legend `oneworld revolves around you' continues to be demonstrated for our customers."

The "alliance that revolves around you" has quickly established itself as one of the world's premier airline networks, expanding substantially in its first year of operation and helping millions of travellers reach more places more easily.

It was launched in February last year by founder members American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Canadian. Finnair and Iberia joined six months later.

In the alliance's first year of operation, its member airlines:
  • Carried almost 200 million passengers - equivalent to one in 30 of the world population.
  • Flown 2.2 billion miles (3.5 billion kms) - equivalent to around 12 return trips to the Sun.
  • Operated around two million flights - with a oneworld airline departure somewhere around the world every 14 seconds.

    LanChile and Aer Lingus will join the grouping as Canadian Airlines ceases to be a member, as previously announced, following its purchase by Air Canada.

    The two newcomers will take the number of destinations served by oneworld members to 585 destinations worldwide.

    With the new additions, oneworld carriers will employ 266,938 people and operate fleets of 1,826 aircraft, carrying almost 215 million passengers last year.

    Joining Don Carty, Enrique Cueto, Larry Stanley and Peter Buecking at the oneworld Santiago meeting were:
  • Lord Marshall, Chairman and Acting Chief Executive, British Airways
  • Keijo Suila, Chief Executive, Finnair
  • Xabier de Irala, Chief Executive, Iberia
  • David Turnbull, Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific
  • Paul Edwards, Group General Manager Commercial Strategy, Qantas.

    oneworld enables each carrier to offer customers services and products that it cannot provide by itself, responding to changes in the global airline marketplace. These include:
  • Closer linking of the member airlines' frequent flyer programmes, enabling members of the frequent flyer programmes to earn and redeem miles on any eligible flights and fares of the oneworld alliance airlines. Qualifying flights also count towards frequent flyer tier status. (American Airlines AADVANTAGE and British Airways Executive Club members can earn and redeem miles and earn tier status credit on all eligible flights except each other's direct routes between Europe and the Americas).
  • Top tier frequent flyer cards with a common element of branding, to ensure members receive the appropriate recognition and privileges to which they are accustomed no matter on which of the airlines they are flying.
  • Access to the member airlines' 250 plus lounges for eligible members of their frequent flyer schemes, no matter on which of the oneworld airlines they are travelling, along with priority check-in, standby and waitlisting, and preferred seating and boarding
  • smoother transfers for passengers travelling across the global networks of the oneworld carriers
  • greater support, with employees of each airline equipped to assist and care for customers travelling with any of the oneworld airlines
  • greater value, through a range of round-the-world products, including oneworld Explorer fares.

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