Alaska Airlines has announced that it’s to become a full member of the Oneworld alliance by the summer of 2021.
The move is part of a deepening relationship with Oneworld member American Airlines, amid stiff competition from Delta at several of Alaska Airlines hubs on the American West Coast.
The two airlines plan to expand their existing codeshare agreement as well as reciprocal frequent flier program benefits. This is a reversal of a decision the two carriers made in March 2019. Then, they wanted to end existing codeshares and frequent flier benefits.
One aspect of the new plan is the joint construction of a new international hub at Seattle International Airport. American Airlines is going to launch two new long haul routes to Bengaluru, India in October and to London Heathrow in March 2021. Both of these new flights will be operated by Boeing 787-9’s and Alaska Airlines will be feeding American from its extensive network. American will be the last major American Airline to return to India and the first to fly to Bengaluru, after Delta Air Lines began New York-Mumbai flights in 2019.
The next step involves alining American and Alaskan services at other airports on the West Coast, mainly at LAX, with Alaska Airlines feeding American Airlines long haul routes to the Asia Pacific region.
Membership of Oneworld will allow Alaska to expand its international connectivity through codeshares and interline agreements and allow its frequent fliers access cross-airline Oneworld benefits, including the use of lounges worldwide and mileage redemption opportunities.
The news is especially good for British Airways and Finnair for example, who will benefit from some of the deepest connectivity into the US they’ve ever had, with access to dozens of new destinations.
Oneworld was launched in 1999 and currently has 13 member airlines in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. However, LATAM Airlines has announced its exit of the alliance on May 1st, while on April 1st Royal Air Maroc joins. Fiji Airways is the first Oneworld Connect member airline.