Aer Lingus now has "no plans" to join Oneworld

By David Flynn, November 15 2017
Aer Lingus now has

Aer Lingus has no intention of rejoining the Oneworld alliance, dashing the hopes of sibling British Airways for the Irish flag-carrier to take its seat at the Oneworld table sometime in 2018.

"We have no plans to join Oneworld," Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh told the European Aviation Conference at Dublin City University yesterday. "We still have to do the business case for joining Oneworld."

Instead, Kavanagh said that Aer Lingus would work towards joining the existing alliance between British Airways and American Airlines.

Aer Lingus' AerClub frequent flyer scheme has recently adopted as its currency the same Avios used by fellow IAG-owned airlines British Airways, Iberia, Vuelling and Level, with plans to join a unified 'points-bank' shared by those airlines by June 2018.

PREVIOUS | Ireland's Aer Lingus could rejoin the Oneworld alliance by end of 2017, providing Qantas frequent flyers with new options for earning and burning their points plus useful perks such as lounge access and priority checkin.

However, a more likely timeframe could be 2018 due to the work required to integrate a new member airline's systems – including the technology back-end – into the Oneworld network.

Speaking with USA Today, Willie Walsh, CEO of Aer Lingus parent International Airlines Group, said "I would expect it in 2017, but I don’t have an exact date."

"We don’t have a specific timeline. We’re working as quickly as we can. But these issues aren’t always as simple as they might appear. IT tends to be the issue that drives the timeline on most of this – getting the Aer Lingus systems capable of interacting with the other Oneworld carrier systems."

Aer Lingus was a Oneworld member until 2007, when it left the global airline group as part of a strategic shift away from the premium market to become a low-cost airline.

The airline has since reversed course and was last year taken over by IAG – which also owns British Airways – in a £1bn buy-out.

Aer Lingus has already moved to bring its frequent flyer scheme in line with that of British Airways, retiring its long-running Gold Circle loyalty program in favour of a new AerClub scheme using BA's Avios points as its currency.

AerClub will offer four status tiers starting with Green, then Silver and Platinum before topping out at Concierge.

These are expected to align against Oneworld status tiers as Ruby (AerClub Silver), Sapphire (AerClub Platinum) and Emerald (AerClub Concierge)

Concierge-grade members will enjoy four free upgrades each year, free WiFi on international flights and partner membership at the Silver level

BA is expected to put forward Aer Lingus for Oneworld membership in 2017, although it typically takes around 12 months to formally join the alliance.

"We anticipate IAG formally proposing Aer Lingus for Oneworld membership at the appropriate time" a spokesman for the Oneworld alliance told Australian Business Traveller.

Aer Lingus has declined to comment on the subject.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 232

I was just wondering about this one the weekend and now I know!

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 113

Has Aer Lingus upgraded inflight meal & drink service for short haul? It has been some years since I flew with them and all that was offered was a plastic cup of water.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

Given that BA is moving to a pay for drink/food in short haul I very much doubt Aer Lingus will be offering much

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

Agree.  As far as alignment re shorthaul Y cabin service std among IAG brands is concerned, EI doesn't really need to do's already @ where the current overall IAG strategy has been targeting for all brands.

It's BA and IB which need to be 'downgraded' & align with EI per current IAG strategy.

And before folks here cry foul and declare their deflection to competitors, don't forget LH Group and AFKLM are also heading in the same direction further along than IAG re short-haul Y std and the Gulf Big3 with their superior cabin stds are irrelevant in the European shorthaul mkt.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 65

Given Aer Lingus's ownership by IAG, I wonder how much weight we can put behind Willie Walsh's thoughts on the longevity of the Oneworld Alliance (as quoted in last weeks AusBT article re:BA and Oneworld)


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 203

They were quite good when I flew with them in 2015. And since prices to the US and Canada from UK/Ireland are about half the UK start if you fly out of Dublin, I would definitely consider them if travelling that way again.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621


"...prices to the US and Canada from UK/Ireland are about half the UK start if you fly out of Dublin."
Which is indirectly a result of the huge diff in hub ops cost for IAG between LHR vs DUB.

I wouldn't be surprised that on a per seat/km basis, total hub op cost(including e.g. yr-round delay cost due to congestion and slot mkt value) @ DUB is also about half of LHR.....

09 May 2011

Total posts 23

Given that Aer Lingus were actually once a part of oneworld previously ( up until about 10 years ago I recall), I would've thought that the IT systems would more or less be in place, and that any transition would be very minimal in nature.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Part of the reason they left was because they didn't want to upgrade their computer systems to be able to link with the then incoming new members JL, RJ and MA.

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