Oneworld alliance members American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia have launched their new joint business on transatlantic routes and say the new business will...

Oneworld alliance members American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia have launched their new joint business on transatlantic routes and say the new business will give their customers increased access to cheaper fares, a bigger choice of flight times and easier connecting journeys.

The new joint business allows the three airlines to cooperate commercially on flights between the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Norway and the United States, Mexico and Canada. It has been approved by the competition authorities of the EU and the United States.

The CEOs of the three oneworld airlines met in London on October 6 for the official start of the new trilateral relationship, which the airlines say enables oneworld to compete far more effectively with other global alliances on routes between Europe and North America.

American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia have announced four new routes that will start next April as an early benefit of the new joint business. They are New York JFK-Budapest and Chicago-Helsinki (operated by American); London Heathrow-San Diego (operated by British Airways); and Madrid-Los Angeles (operated by Iberia).

As a result of the new joint business arrangement, American will also add a second daily round-trip between New York JFK and Barcelona and a second daily round-trip between Miami and Madrid. Both new flights also begin in spring 2011.

The oneworld airline alliance celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 and adopted this special logo throughout the year to commemorate the milestone

The airlines have also placed codeshares on a significant number of additional routes, greatly increasing the number of destination choices available to customers. American will add its code to 322 British Airways and Iberia flights serving 101 destinations, British Airways will add its code to 2,063 American and Iberia flights serving 181 destinations and Iberia will add its code to 354 American and British Airways flights serving 96 destinations.

In addition, oneworld member Finnair (which is one of the five oneworld member airlines which sought and received U.S. antitrust immunity for joint transatlantic scheduling, along with American, BA, Iberia and Royal Jordanian) will codeshare on American Airlines’ new Chicago-Helsinki route from its inception in April.

The three members of the new joint business say there will be further opportunities to increase codeshares in the future. In total, they say, customers will be able to travel more easily on the airlines’ combined route network, which will serve more than 400 destinations in 105 countries with around 5,200 daily departures.

Other claimed customer benefits include:

● Greater access to a wider choice of fares;

● Coordinated schedules on joint routes to provide customers with better flight choice and timings

● Dedicated support teams for customers transferring at five of the airlines’ hubs: New York JFK, London Heathrow, Madrid, Chicago and Miami;

● Online check in and boarding pass printing with either the airline operating the flight, or the one the ticket was booked through;

● Integrated online flight information on all three airlines’ websites;

● Increased opportunity to earn and redeem frequent flyer benefits on trans-Atlantic flights; and

● More integrated account management for corporate customers.

“We’ve been waiting for 14 years to be able to bring these benefits to our customers and it’s great news that we can now put our plans into action,” says Gerard Arpey, chairman and chief executive of AMR Corp, the parent company of American Airlines. “Our revenue-sharing partnership will further boost oneworld, in what has been a momentous year for the alliance, and enable us to reduce costs and attract new business. It will provide additional stability for the airlines and our customers, employees and shareholders and allow us to invest in new products and services.”

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, adds: “Today’s route announcement is a great example of how by working together we can benefit customers. Combined selling and scheduling means that we will able to operate routes that would not have been viable for us to operate individually. This partnership will provide a one-stop shop for transatlantic travel regardless of how you book, which of our airlines you fly with or where you want to transfer.”

Antonio Vazquez, chairman and chief executive of Iberia, says: “The growth potential of our joint business and the extra capacity Madrid offers will enable Barajas airport to become one of the main gateways for flights between North America and Europe in the very near future. So we will be offering our customers more travel choices, but we will also offer them a better travel experience. Our employees have an essential role in this aim. Around 12,000 employees of the three companies at airports and call centres have been trained to ensure that all these benefits are delivered to our customers.”