Wednesday, February 08 2006:Japan Airlines (JAL) and oneworld have exchanged a memorandum of understanding, completing the Asian carrier's first step towards joining the world's leading quality global airline alliance.
The agreement was signed just three months after JAL first indicated its intention to seek oneworld membership.
It sets out a framework for the remaining steps to be taken before the alliance can formally invite the airline to join. All parties have committed to reach this stage in the next few months - and then to bring the new recruit on board oneworld on a fast track programme.
Assuming all remaining agreements can be reached, this should see JAL flying as a fully fledged member of the alliance in around a year.
American Airlines will be supporting JAL through these tasks, as its prime oneworld sponsor, assisted by Cathay Pacific.
oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: “Adding Japan Airlines will be one of the most significant developments in oneworld's history. We are delighted that we have been able to reach this key stage in our discussions so soon. It signals an excellent relationship going forward. Bringing JAL on board is a top priority for the alliance. oneworld and all its member airlines have committed to do whatever is necessary to complete this process as smoothly and speedily as possible. We look forward to working with the team at JAL to complete the steps necessary before we can issue a formal invitation to join.”
JAL Group Chief Executive Officer Toshiyuki Shinmachi said: “Discussions between Japan Airlines and oneworld have progressed at an extremely swift pace. The memorandum of understanding signifies Japan Airlines' first major step towards obtaining full membership of oneworld. We hope that we can maintain this pace and successfully complete all the stages ahead of us, so JAL can enter oneworld as soon as possible, to the benefit of our customers.”
oneworld brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business - Qantas, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Finnair and Aer Lingus, besides American Airlines and British Airways, plus their 12 affiliates. Royal Jordanian is a member designate, and will start offering the alliance's services and benefits from around the turn of 2006/2007. Hungary's Mal醇Pv is also a member designate and should join the grouping in early 2007.
The alliance enables its member airlines to offer their customers more services and benefits than any carrier can provide on its own. These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and access to more airport lounges.
Together, its members:
- Serve some 605 destinations in 135 countries. With JAL, Royal Jordanian and Mal醇Pv, the oneworld map would extend to 696 destinations in 141 countries and territories.
- Operate more than 8,000 departures a day - an average of one oneworld airline departure or arrival somewhere around the world every five seconds around the clock - on a fleet of some 2,000 aircraft.
- Carried more than 230 million passengers in 2004 - equivalent to around one in 30 of the world population.
- Offer more alliance fare and sales products than any of its competitors, earning almost US$600 million for its member airlines in 2004, with all passengers transferring between oneworld members generating revenues totalling US$1.6 billion in the year.
- Earned almost US$60 billion in revenues, with oneworld activities generating one in every US$30 dollar earned by its member airlines from passenger services.
- Provide top frequent flyers and premium passengers with some 400 airport lounges worldwide.
oneworld is the only alliance whose members achieved a collective profit in 2004 - US$1.5 billion net, against combined losses by Star carriers totalling more than US$2.2 billion and an overall deficit by SkyTeam's members in excess of US$7 billion.
It is also the holder of the only two international awards presented to airline alliances in 2004 - voted the world's best airline alliance by readers of Business Traveller magazine in its 2004 poll and named the World's Leading Airline Alliance for the second year running in the World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by travel professionals from 80,000 agencies in more than 200 countries.
It is the first global alliance to enable passengers to fly across its entire network with just electronic tickets, with interline e-ticketing links completed between all its member airlines in April 2005.
Five of oneworld's existing partners operate to and from Japan - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and Qantas - carrying some four million passengers last year on a combined schedule of almost 200 round trips a week. These link Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Nagoya Centrair, Fukuoka and Sapporo Chitose with direct flights to 13 destinations, including oneworld hubs Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York JFK and Sydney.
About Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines is the biggest carrier in the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of group revenues, it would become the largest member of oneworld. Using virtually all other measures, it would be in the alliance's biggest three, alongside American Airlines and British Airways. Until today, it was the only one among the 20 biggest international airlines in the world (IATA members) not to have joined or sought membership of one of the three key airline groupings.
From its main hubs of Tokyo (Narita and Haneda) and Osaka (Kansai and Itami), Japan Airlines serves 206 destinations in 34 countries and territories, in Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas, including oneworld hubs Chicago O'Hare, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Singapore and Sydney.
It would expand oneworld's existing network by around 10 per cent, adding add 68 destinations - 56 of them in Japan and five in China. It would add one territory - Guam.
With nearly 24,000 staff in the air transport sector, JAL operates a fleet of some 280 aircraft, which last year carried almost 60 million passengers.
With the IATA two-letter code of JL, it operates some 1,140 departures a day.