AerLingus to join oneworld

03 December 1999

Aer Lingus has today been confirmed as the ninth member of the oneworld™ global airline alliance.

It was formally elected on board today by the chief executives of the established members - American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, and Qantas Airways - at their quarterly Governing Board, meeting this time in New York.

Its election follows the signing last week of marketing agreements with the leading Irish carrier by both American Airlines and British Airways, covering code-sharing and other areas.

Both Aer Lingus and LanChile, whose ratification as a member of the alliance was announced in May, plan to offer oneworld services and benefits from the middle of the year 2000.

These new additions mean the oneworld alliance will cover some 665 destinations in 138 countries and territories, with a total of 303 airport lounges. Its members together employ 280,100 people and operate fleets of 1,959 aircraft, carrying almost 225 million passengers last year.

Speaking on behalf of the oneworld members, Bob Ayling, Chief Executive of British Airways, said: "Aer Lingus is highly regarded as a quality carrier throughout the markets it serves. It makes an excellent addition to oneworld. We are delighted Aer Lingus has selected oneworld as its global alliance. We are pleased to formally welcome it on board today."

Garry Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of Aer Lingus, said: "Today is a very significant day for Aer Lingus and we are delighted to be accepted as part of the oneworld team. All of us look forward to working with our new colleagues and to bringing our range of services and our unique customer service style to passengers throughout the expanding oneworld global network."

Aer Lingus flies to 34 destinations worldwide, including 6 in Ireland, 10 in Great Britain, 13 elsewhere in Europe and to New York/Newark, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles in the USA. One of the ten biggest companies in Ireland, it employs 7,400 people and operates a fleet of 38 aircraft, including six Airbus A330s and five A321s and 14 Boeing 737s. Formed in 1936, it flew 5.8 million passengers last year.

Notes to editors:

1. 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

· 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. (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)

· Access to the member airlines' 303 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.