oneworld has unveiled its first new membership platform since the alliance’s creation nearly 20 years ago, with the introduction of oneworld connect.
The new platform, revealed during a summit of world airline CEOs in Sydney, is marketed as a new way for (usually) smaller carriers to link up with full member airlines of the oneworld alliance, with a view to full membership down the line.
Flyers are also expected to benefit from the new initiative, with customers able to enjoy more services and benefits across a greater global network. In a coup for aviation in the South Pacific, the first oneworld connect partner will be Fiji Airways.
With a minimum of three sponsor airlines required for the program, Fiji Airways has secured four oneworld sponsor carriers: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Qantas, which will also mentor FJ through the program.
Fiji already has codeshare arrangements with QF, AA and CX. Other carriers interested in becoming connect partners are currently being vetted by the alliance.
As far as benefits for flyers go, oneworld connect partners will provide select benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights, with a more extensive range of benefits offered with their oneworld sponsors.
Benefits to oneworld airline passengers include:
- Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer programme will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available, while customers with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.
Additional benefits to oneworld sponsor airline passengers (and vice versa) include:
- Through check-in of passengers and baggage for journeys including connections between a connect carrier and any of its oneworld sponsors.
- The ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer rewards, and earn frequent flyer status points, for eligible flights.
- Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.
Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen called the announcement a win-win for the airline, Fiji and the South Pacific.
“This important step for our airline enables us to offer more services and benefits to our own customers along with the others in the oneworld family, to achieve a greater presence for our airline internationally and to build on the in-bound tourism that is so vital to our home nation and our region.”