Russia’s S7 Airlines has officially joined the oneworld alliance, its subsidiary Globus joining at the same time as an affiliate member of oneworld.
The two airlines now offer oneworld’s full range of services and benefits, joining an alliance of airline partners from every region around the world: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Mexicana (which is attempting to resume operations in December), Qantas, Royal Jordanian and almost 20 affiliated airlines.
S7 and Globus between them serve 90 destinations and 28 countries. They add 55 destinations in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States to the oneworld schedule, and nine countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This has almost tripled the number of destinations served by oneworld in Russia, the CIS and other parts of East Europe to a total of 84 destinations in 26 countries.
The Russian carriers’ network expands oneworld’s global coverage to a total of more than 750 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by 8,500 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2,250 aircraft. Oneworld member airlines carry 300 million passengers a year and generate total annual revenues of more than US$85 billion.
When oneworld member-designates airberlin (Europe’s fifth-largest airline) and India’s Kingfisher Airlines join oneworld in the coming 18 months, the alliance’s network will grow further to some 900 destinations. Oneworld serves them with 9,500 daily departures operated by 14 airlines and 20 affiliates, carrying 340 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of 2,500 aircraft, generating annual revenues of $90 billion.
According to oneworld, members of the S7 Priority frequent-flyer program will now see the privileges they receive when flying with S7 extended to cover travel using any oneworld member airline worldwide. They can now earn and redeem mileage awards on any oneworld flight; and to mark the airline’s addition to the group, they will receive double the normal mileage awards when flying on S7’s oneworld partners for the next two months.
S7 Priority Platinum and Gold cardholders have oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status respectively, gaining them access to some 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance’s airlines. S7 Priority Silver cardholders will have oneworld Ruby status.
The 100 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes can now earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on S7. Members of oneworld airlines’ loyalty programmes will receive double the normal mileage awards when flying on S7 until January 15, to mark its addition to the alliance.
Oneworld says that S7’s network – the most extensive in the region – is now covered by oneworld’s range of alliance fares and sales products, including oneworld Explorer, the alliance’s round-the-world fare.
S7’s Russian domestic market is the world’s largest country in terms of land mass, the ninth most populous and boasting the eighth-biggest gross domestic product. Russia is predicted to be one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
Currently seven of oneworld’s established airlines – British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian –serve Moscow, plus St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg.
S7’s addition to the alliance – effective at 00:01 a..m. Irkutsk-time this morning – completes what has been one of the biggest projects in the airline’s history, with working groups covering some 35 streams of activity. British Airways has been supporting S7 through its 18-month alliance implementation project, as its oneworld sponsor airline.
The Russian carrier’s IT systems have now been linked to those of oneworld’s established members and various internal processes and procedures brought into line with the alliance’s requirements. An extensive employee training and communications programmes has been completed to ensure employees at S7 and throughout the alliance are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance.
As part of an extensive marketing communications program all S7 Priority Platinum, Gold and Silver cardholders have been sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits.
S7 was the first carrier in Russia to convert to an all Western-built Airbus and Boeing fleet and the first to adopt full electronic ticketing and on-line reservations and sales. It holds the internationally recognised IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit) certification, renewed in October 2008 and gained by its Globus subsidiary in October 2010.
S7 offers a two-class product to international standards on all departures – Business Class and Economy. Its fleet, decorated in a distinctive bright green livery, includes 28 Airbus A320-family aircraft, one Airbus A310, two Boeing 767-300ERs, four Boeing 737-400s and four Boeing 737-800s, with an average age of nine years.
Between them S7 and Globus carried 5.6 million passengers in 2009, with a bigger share of the domestic Russian air travel market than any other airline. Including its international network, S7 is Russia’s second-biggest carrier. Its main hub Moscow Domodedovo is the capital’s most modern airport and the carrier operates secondary hubs at Novosibirsk and Irkutsk. S7’s international destinations include oneworld hubs Madrid and Bangkok.
Tracing its origins back to 1957, it changed its brand name from Sibir Airlines to S7 Airlines five years ago with a radical rebranding to make it stand out from its competitors as a customer-friendly, quality, modern carrier – subsequently winning the annual national award “People’s mark / Brand No 1 in Russia”.
Since its election as a oneworld member designate in May 2009, S7 has launched code-sharing with alliance partners Iberia and Royal Jordanian. S7 also code-shares with oneworld member elect airberlin.
The airline generated profits of $151 million (operating) and $18 million (net) in 2009 on revenues of $1.1 billion. S7 employs 2,596 staff and uses SITA as its main IT platform. It is 75-per-cent privately owned. S7’s English-language website is www.s7.ru/en/index.html.
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