TAM Airlines and US Airways have both formally left the Star Alliance and joined oneworld, marking the biggest single-day expansion of the alliance since its launch 15 years ago.
From March 31, the 140 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent-flyer programs can earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits when flying on TAM Airlines and US Airways.
TAM and US Airways significantly expand the oneworld alliance in many key areas. Together, they increase the number of passengers carried annually across the alliance network by a third, adding another 120 million customers a year.
Together, US Airways and TAM Airlines expand the annual seat capacity offered by the alliance by 20 per cent. Between them they also add almost 100 destinations to the oneworld network – nearly a 10 per cent increase.
With its two new recruits, oneworld serves almost 1,000 airports in 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures. Oneworld members carry more than 500 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft.
Additionally, oneworld members now generate $140 billion in annual revenues and the alliance and its members offer more than 600 airport lounges worldwide for the use of premium-class or loyalty program premium-status members.
Using the two-letter flight code ‘JJ’, TAM Airlines serves 61 destinations in 16 countries in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe, with a fleet of 172 aircraft operating 800 departures daily. It boarded 37 million passengers in 2013.
TAM has added nearly 45 destinations in Brazil to the oneworld network, and TAM’s home base Guarulhos Airport serving São Paulo, the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Americas, becomes a new hub for oneworld.
US Airways’ induction into oneworld comes following its merger with oneworld founder member American Airlines on December 9, 2013.
Eventually US Airways’ operation will be completely absorbed into that of American and the US Airways name will disappear, leaving the more storied American Airlines as the surviving airline name.
US Airways brings more than 50 destinations to the oneworld map along with its key hubs of Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington Reagan National Airport, expanding oneworld’s presence across the United States, particularly throughout the East Coast and across the North Atlantic.
Its merger with American Airlines has created the world’s largest airline, by most measures. With both American and US Airways on board, oneworld becomes the leading alliance in the United States, the world’s largest air travel market.
Until the full integration of American Airlines and US Airways, US Airways and its regional carriers will operate as oneworld affiliate members, under the American umbrella. During the transition period as they work toward their full integration, American and US Airways will maintain their current loyalty programs, American’s AAdvantage and US Airways’ Dividend Miles.
With its regional affiliates, US Airways serves more than 200 destinations and 30 countries with a fleet of more than 620 aircraft. It carried 82.5 million passengers in 2013 and currently operates 3,200 departures a day. It uses the two-letter flight code ‘US’, but this will be changed to American’s flight code ‘AA’ once the two airlines combine under a single operating certificate.
According to LATAM Airlines Group, TAM Airlines’ induction into oneworld is one of the most important steps in achieving oneworld membership for all of the group’s carriers.
LATAM Airlines Group founding member LAN Airlines has been a member of oneworld since 2000. All of its affiliates ‒ LAN Argentina, LAN Colombia, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru ‒ also have already joined the alliance.
TAM Mercosur, TAM’s affiliated airline in Paraguay, will also join oneworld soon. As a result, all the passenger airlines in the LATAM Airlines Group will be members of the same global alliance.
For oneworld, this will allow it to become the leading alliance for flights within Latin America and between the region and the United States and Europe, which are the network links most sought after by South American passengers.
“We made the best choice for the LATAM Airlines Group. With oneworld, our passengers will have even more benefits on their journeys, including better connections and more options for destinations,” says Marco Antonio Bologna, TAM’s chief executive.
Commemorating the occasion, on March 31 TAM’s first aircraft bearing the oneworld logo is on display at São Paulo’s downtown Congonhas Airport. CEOs and representatives of all oneworld member airlines traveled to Brazil especially for TAM’s induction and have been present for the event.
To mark its entry into oneworld, TAM is offering double points in its Fidelidade loyalty program to all members flying with the alliance’s member airlines, except Finnair, in May. Members of the frequent-flyer programs of oneworld member airlines will also receive double points or miles when flying on TAM during the month.
The 10 million members of the TAM Fidelidade program will keep the points they accrued before the transition to the alliance, as well as their premium-status levels, in accordance with the program’s rules. New cards with the oneworld logo, which have already been distributed, can now be used to redeem and earn points on any oneworld member airline.