It will be the first carrier from the subcontinent to join any of the global airline groups – and the first of three airlines to join oneworld in its biggest membership expansion drive for five years, with airberlin set to follow it on board the alliance shortly afterwards and Malaysia Airlines later in the year.
Kingfisher Airlines received its green light to board oneworld after successfully completing a thorough review of its readiness conducted by British Airways, which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance, with the oneworld central team.
So from 10 February 2012, it will be offering oneworld’s full range of services – and substantially expanding the alliance’s network throughout India, one of the fastest growing regions of the world for air travel demand.
For Kingfisher Airlines, joining oneworld will strengthen its competitive offering and its financial position, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.
Its addition will extend oneworld’s global coverage to nearly 800 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a total of almost 8,500 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of more than 2,250 aircraft, carrying 305 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of US$94 billion. With the addition soon of airberlin and later this year Malaysia Airlines, the oneworld network will expand to more than 850 destinations.
oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said:
“Kingfisher Airlines will expand oneworld’s network substantially in a key region of growing travel demand, with a carrier that matches our demanding requirements, while enabling Kingfisher Airlines to offer its customers a truly global network on quality partners. We are look forward to welcoming them to the oneworld alliance in February.”
Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya said:
“Kingfisher Airlines takes great pride in its track record for quality and innovation. By becoming part of oneworld in February, we will be flying as part of the world’s leading quality airline alliance – and the first carrier from the subcontinent to be accepted into any of the global airline groups.”
“Becoming part of oneworld will be one of the most significant steps in Kingfisher Airlines’ history. It will enable us to offer our customers a truly global network served by partners who include some of the best known and most admired airlines in the world, while our King Club frequent flyers will have more opportunities to earn and redeem mileage rewards and enjoy all their other benefits. It will also strengthen us financially, through revenues from passengers transferring to our network from our oneworld partners and the cost reduction opportunities the alliance offers.”
When Kingfisher Airlines joins, members of its King Club frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem mileage awards on all oneworld partners – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and almost 20 affiliated airlines.
King Club King Platinum cardholders will have oneworld Emerald status with its King Club Gold members enjoying oneworld Sapphire status, gaining them access to more than 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance’s airlines. King Club Silver cardholders will have oneworld Ruby status.
King Club Platinum, Gold and Silver cardholders will soon be sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from 10 February.
Also from 10th February, the 120 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on Kingfisher Airlines.
Its network – currently serving 54 destinations and nine countries – will from then be covered by oneworld’s full and extensive range of alliance fares and sales products.
It will add more than 40 destinations to the alliance’s network, all of them in its India home, which is the world’s second most populous market and forecast to be the world’s second biggest economy within two decades. Its middle class population is expected to grow tenfold by 2025 – to nearly 600 million.
Currently seven of oneworld’s established airlines – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian – serve five Indian gateways, in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Kingfisher Airlines was invited to join oneworld in June 2010 after gaining approval from India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation to become part of the alliance.
Its alliance implementation programme has represented one of the most extensive projects in its history, with working groups covering some 35 streams of activity. Projects are nearing completion to bring Kingfisher Airlines’ various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance’s requirements, and extensive employee training and communications programmes are now underway at Kingfisher Airlines and the alliance’s existing members, to ensure they are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits across the expanded alliance from 10th February.
Meantime, it has implemented frequent flyer links with established oneworld partners American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair and S7 ahead of joining the alliance and signed code-sharing agreements with British Airways.