In its biggest expansion since its launch 15 years ago, the oneworld alliance sat the joining of TAM Airlines and US Airways on March 31. Its a double whammy, since both the airlines were leading members of the Star alliance till the switched over.
US Airways’ regional affiliates, operating as US Airways Express, also transitioned to oneworld, following US Airways’ recent merger with American Airlines.
The landmark addition of these airlines to oneworld will significantly expand oneworld on many key measures:
Increasing the number of passengers carried annually across the alliance network by a third, adding another 120 million customers a year.
Expanding the annual capacity offered by the alliance by 20 per cent.
Adding almost a hundred destinations to the oneworld network – a near 10 per cent increase.
TAM Airlines is the leading airline in Brazil. TAM’s partner in the LATAM Airlines Group, Chile’s LAN Airlines, is a full member of oneworld since 2000, and its other airlines, LAN Argentina, LAN Colombia, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru also joining the alliance. TAM’s airline code is JJ and it serves 61 destinations in 16 countries in Latin America, the USA and Europe, with a fleet of 172 aircraft operating 800 departures daily, carrying 37 million passengers last year. TAM home hub at Sao Paulo, will now become a new hub for oneworld. TAM’s affiliate in Paraguay, TAM Airlines (TAM Mercosur), will join oneworld soon, at which time all passenger airlines in the LATAM Airlines Group will be part of oneworld.
Post the merger of US Airways and oneworld founder member, American Airlines, the alliance becomes the leader in the largest travel market in the world, the United States. American and US Airways will maintain their current frequent flier programmes, AAdvantage and Dividend Miles till the full integration of the two airlines under the American Airlines name. The US Airways group including affiliates carried 82.5 million passengers on 3,200 daily flights, to more than 200 destinations in 30 countries, with a fleet of more than 620 aircraft. On completion of the merger, the combined American Airlines is expected to carry over 190 million passengers annually to 330 destinations in over 50 countries and fleet of 1,500 aircraft.
Next month on May 1, oneworld will add the first carrier from the Indian sub-continent to the alliance, SriLankan Airlines.