Oneworld was founded on February 1, 1999, and is headquartered in New York. It is the smallest of the three major airline alliances. Its 13 full member airlines transport over half a billion passengers every year using a combined fleet of more than 3,500 aircraft.
This article takes a brief look at all of Oneworld’s full member airlines, at its “Connect” partners, as well as at the alliance’s future and past members.
Oneworld Member Airlines
Oneworld was founded by three airlines, but over the last two decades has grown to include 13 airlines on five of the six inhabited continents. Besides “full members,” some of the airlines’ subsidiaries are also part of the alliance – as affiliate members.
Through the alliance, the airlines work together in a variety of ways including offering frequent flyer perks to members of their alliance partners’ loyalty programs.
American Airlines is one of the alliance’s founding members and thus it’s become a member on February 1, 1999. Currently, in many regards – like fleet size and revenue – it’s the world’s largest airline. It flies to about 350 destinations in 50 or so countries, most of them in the United States.
American Airlines and its affiliate, American Eagle, operate an extensive network of domestic flights. Besides that, the airline also serves many international destinations, mainly from its hubs in Dallas, Chicago, and Charlotte.
Its frequent flyer program, AAdvantage, was started in 1981. That makes it the oldest airline loyalty program.
British Airways is another one of the alliance’s founding members. Currently, the airline serves about 250 destinations in 90 countries. Its also has a number of closely affiliated airlines including Comair in South Africa and SUN-AIR of Scandinavia.
The airline operates a fleet of more than 250 aircraft and is the largest remaining operator of Boeing 747. Besides that, in the past, it used to be one of the two operators of the supersonic Concorde.
Executive Club, British Airways’ frequent flyer program, uses Avios as a currency.
Cathay Pacific was established in 1946 an has grow into one of the world’s largest airlines since then. It’s one of the four founding members of Oneworld Alliance.
With a fleet of more than 150 aircraft, it connects Hong Kong with about 90 destinations in more than 30 countries. The airline runs two loyalty programs – The Marco Polo Club which requires payment of a one-time membership fee and Asia Miles.
Its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon is an affiliate member of the alliance.
While not a founding member, Finnair – the flag carrier of Finland – joined Oneworld in the same year the alliance was founded.
It now operates flights to about 150 destinations in 45 countries using a fleet of mainly Airbus aircraft. The airline took advantage of its geographical position and now offers extensive connections from European cities to Asia via its hub in Helsinki.
Finnair’s frequent flyer program is Finnair Plus, and Nordic Regional Airlines – in which it’s a 40% shareholder – is an affiliate member of the alliance.
The Spain’s flagship airline, Iberia, joined Oneworld at the same time as Finnair – on September 1, 1999.
It operates a fleet of more than 80 aircraft to over 130 destinations in almost 50 countries. Since it’s founding in 1927, it’s grown into one of the biggest players in the Europe-Latin America market.
It’s frequent flyer program, Iberia Plus, uses Avios as a currency, and so its miles can be transferred to British Airways’ program.
Iberia’s regional partners, Iberia Regional – Air Nostrum and Iberia Express, are affiliate members of Oneworld as well.
Japan Airlines, one of the two major airlines of Japan, was established in 1951. Since then it’s developed an extensive domestic and international network of flights, mainly out of its hubs at Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports.
The airline operates to about 80 destinations in 20 countries, and joined the alliance on April 1, 2007. JAL’s subsidiaries J-Air and Japan Transocean Air joined as affiliate members at the same time as well.
It offers two loyalty programs, JAL Mileage Bank and JAL Global Club.
LATAM was formed in 2012 through a merger of LAN Airlines (post-merger LATAM Chile) and TAM Airlines (post-merger LATAM Brasil).
While the former has been a member of Oneworld since June 1, 2000, the latter was a member of Star Alliance prior to the merger. LATAM Brasil joined Oneworld Alliance on March 31, 2014. Since then, other LATAM subsidiaries like LATAM Argentina and LATAM Colombia have joined as affiliate members.
LATAM flies to over 140 destinations in more than 20 countries and is South America’s largest airline group.
It has two frequent flyer programs – LATAM Pass and LATAM Fidelidade. The latter of the two is only available to residents of Brazil and Paraguay.
Malaysia Airlines was founded in 1947 as Malayan Airways. While the airline has been struggling financially and is past its heyday, it still operates to over 50 destinations in more than 15 countries.
Currently, the airline operates about 80 aircraft about half of which are Boeing 737s, on routes from Kuala Lumpur to predominantly destinations within Asia.
The airline joined Oneworld Alliance on February 1, 2013. In the same year, it was named a 5-star airline by Skytrax and Asia’s Leading Airline by World Travel Awards. It’s frequent flyer program is Enrich.
Having been founded in November 1920, Qantas is one of the world’s oldest airlines. Its current name is an acronym of the name it was founded under – Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
Qantas is one of Oneworld’s founding members. Since the now-bankrupt Ansett Australia left Star Alliance in 2001, it’s also been the only Australian member of one of the three major alliances.
The airline serves about 80 destinations around the world, mainly from its hubs in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. With its Perth – London route, it’s also the only airline connecting Australia with Europe non-stop.
Qatar Airways commenced operations in 1994 with a single aircraft. Since then, it grew into a global behemoth connecting Doha with about 200 destinations in 100 countries. Thanks to its geographic location, it’s a popular airline for flights from Europe to Southeast Asia and Australia.
It has been named a 5-star airline by Skytrax every year since 2004. Currently, it operates a fleet of more than 200 aircraft some of which are equipped with QSuites – one of the best business class products in the world.
The airline’s been a member of Oneworld since October 30, 2013. It’s the only one of the three major Gulf airlines to belong to an alliance.
Royal Jordanian Airlines joined Oneworld Alliance together with JAL, on April 1, 2007. The airline was founded in 1963 and now operates a fleet of more than 20 aircraft to almost 50 destinations in 30 countries.
While the airline’s fleet consists mainly of narrow-body aircraft, it also operates a fleet of Boeing 787-8s on medium- and long-haul flights.
It’s frequent flyer program is Royal Club.
Formerly known as Siberia Airlines, S7 Airlines is a Russian airline based at Domodedovo airport in Moscow. It commenced operations in 1992, and nowadays operates a fleet of about 100 narrow-body aircraft.
Besides Moscow, it also runs extensive operations out of Novosibirsk and Vladivostok. It serves almost 200 destinations with most of those being in Russia.
The airline has been a member of the alliance since November 15, 2010. Its frequent flyer program is S7 Priority, and its partner – Globus Airlines – is an affiliate member of Oneworld as well.
While the airline traces its origins back to 1947 when Air Ceylon was founded, SriLankan Airlines in its today’s form was launched in 1979 as Air Lanka. It was rebranded to its current name in 2008.
It’s the largest airline in Sri Lanka and also the only foreign airline serving two destinations in the Maldives.
It joined Oneworld on May 1, 2014, and its frequent flyer program is FlySmiLes.
Oneworld Connect Partners
Besides the full members mentioned above, Oneworld introduced “Connect Partners” last year. With these airlines, passengers can enjoy certain minor benefits regardless of the Oneworld airline they hold a status with.
In addition to that, they can enjoy more significant benefits like lounge access when holding a status with one of the Connect Partner’s “sponsors.”
Currently, there is only one such airline – Fiji Airways.
Fiji Airways became, on December 5, 2018, the first and so far only “Oneworld Connect Partner.” Its sponsors are the four founding airlines of the alliance – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.
The airline uses a fleet of twelve aircraft to connect Fiji with predominantly other destinations in the South Pacific. It also operates longer flights to destinations including Sydney, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
Its frequent flyer program is Tabua Club Plus.
Future Oneworld Members
Currently, one airline is confirmed to join the alliance as a “full member” in the near future – Royal Air Maroc. LATAM Paraguay is expected to join as an affiliate member at some point as well.
Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc was founded in 1957, and today, it operates a fleet of 55 aircraft. It serves almost a hundred destinations in about 50 countries.
The airline is expected to join Oneworld Alliance in mid-2020 at which point its frequent flyer program, Safar Flyer, will increase in usefulness.
While Oneworld has an affiliate member – Comair – in Africa, Royal Air Maroc will be its first full member airline from the continent. That also means that when the airline joins the alliance, Oneworld will have members on all six inhabited continents.
Past Oneworld Members
Besides the airlines mentioned above, there are also some that used to be a Oneworld member, but – for one reason or another – are not anymore. Those include:
- Aer Lingus (June 1, 2000 – March 31, 2007): The Irish airline decided to leave the alliance as part of its restructuring plan.
- Air Berlin (March 20, 2012 – October 28, 2017): The German airline was a member of the alliance until it ceased operations.
- Canadian Airlines (February 1, 1999 – June 1, 2000): While the now non-existent Canadian airline was a founding member of Oneworld, it left the alliance after it was acquired by Air Canada, a Star Alliance member.
- Malev (March 29, 2007 – February 3, 2012): The Hungarian flag carrier was a member of the alliance until it ceased operations.
- Mexicana (November 10, 2009 – August 28, 2010): The Mexican airline was listed on the alliance’s website as an inactive member even after it suspended operations on August 28, 2010. Since then, the airline’s gone completely out of business.
Oneworld is the smallest of the three major alliances both in terms of the number of passengers transported and the number of member airlines. However, it’s also the only alliance with a member airline from Australia.
Once Royal Air Maroc becomes a member, it will also be – together with Star Alliance – one of the two alliances with members on all six inhabited continents.