Russian carrier S7 Airlines will become part of the oneworld Alliance on November 15, offering the alliance’s full range of services and benefits from that date and substantially expanding its network throughout Russia and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
From November 15, members of the S7 Priority frequent-flyer program will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all oneworld partners. These include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian and almost 20 affiliated airlines. Mexicana is also a member of oneworld but ceased operations on August 28 after previously filing for bankruptcy and it is unclear if the Mexican carrier will be able to restart services.
S7 Priority Platinum and Gold cardholders will have oneworld Emerald and Sapphire status respectively, gaining them access to more than 500 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance’s airlines. S7 Priority Silver cardholders will have oneworld Ruby status.
Oneworld says all S7 Priority Platinum, Gold and Silver cardholders will soon be sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from November 15.
From November 15, also, members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programs will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on S7.
The Russian airline’s network – which covers 90 destinations in 28 countries, including 45 points in Russia and some 25 destinations in other parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – will be covered from November 15 by oneworld’s range of alliance fares and sales products.
S7’s Russian domestic market is the world’s largest country in terms of land mass, the ninth-most-populous nation and featuring the eighth-biggest gross domestic product. 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 in Russia.
The new oneworld recruit will add 55 destinations in the region to the alliance map, and nine countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This will almost triple the number of destinations served by oneworld in Russia, the CIS and other parts of East Europe to a total 84 destinations in 26 countries.
S7’s addition will extend oneworld’s global coverage to a total of more than 750 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a total of 8,500 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2,250 aircraft, carrying 300 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of more than $85 billion.
British Airways has been supporting S7 through its 18-month alliance implementation project, as its oneworld sponsor airline, with working groups covering some 35 streams of activity.
Oneworld says 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 online reservations and sales. It holds the internationally recognised IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit) certification, renewed in October 2008.
The Russian carrier offers an international-standard, two-class product on all departures, all its aircraft featuring business-class and economy-class cabins. According to oneworld, S7’s fleet, which is decorated in a distinctive bright green livery, includes 19 Airbus A319s, nine Airbus A320s, two Airbus A310s (one A310-200 and one A310-300), two Boeing 767-300ERs, four Boeing 737-400s and four Boeing 737-800s. The aircraft in S7’s fleet have an average age of nine years.
S7 carried 5.6 million passengers in 2009, which oneworld says was a bigger share of the domestic Russian air travel market than any other airline. Including its international network, it is Russia’s second-biggest carrier after Aeroflot.
The airline’s main hub is at Moscow Domodedovo, the capital’s most modern airport, and it operates secondary hubs at Novosibirsk and Irkutsk. Its international destinations include oneworld hubs Madrid and Bangkok.
Tracing its origins back to 1957, S7 changed its brand name from Sibir Airlines four years ago with a radical rebranding to make it stand out from its competitors as a customer-friendly, quality, modern carrier – 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 Air Berlin.
The airline generated an operating profit of $151 million and a net result of $18 million 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.