Oneworld alliance open to low-cost carriers

By David Flynn, February 14 2017
Oneworld alliance open to low-cost carriers

The Oneworld alliance is reconsidering the role of low-cost airlines as potential members, especially when it comes to filling the gap in 'emerging markets' outside of its established global footprint.

Newly-minted Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney admitted he is rethinking how low-cost operators – which represent an ever-increasing slice of the worldwide travel market – might fit into the Oneworld family.

Gurney is also taking a second look at China, India and Africa, where Oneworld comes up short against competitors Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

"The value proposition hasn’t evolved as rapidly as market structures, industry trends or the operating models of our member airlines," Gurney noted during a briefing at London's Aviation Club.

“We’ve got to be open to everything and anything... if we want to have a partner that’s operating in those markets we have to re-think how we collaborate."

"Like any enterprise that perhaps hasn’t moved at sufficient pace, you need to address that. This is a business."

Gurney said that Oneworld has held "formative" talks with potential recruits in Africa, and while there's no active hunt for new chums in China or India he would "absolutely like to be working with airlines domiciled in those countries."

Star Alliance last year launched a 'connecting partner' tier designed to accomodate low-cost and 'hybrid' airlines, which currently includes South African's Mango and Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines.

Future partners are likely to be drawn from within the ranks of current Star Alliance membership where offshoot low-cost airlines serve routes which their parents do not, such as Singapore Airlines' Scoot, Lufthansa's EuroWings and Air Canada's Jazz.


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.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 377

Could this be the start of the end of OW. Just because other alliances are willing to add LCC, doesn't mean they should.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 148

Well it does make sense considering they already have some involvement with many of their lowcost subsidiaries (eg: Jetstar, IB Express, Niki).

06 Sep 2015

Total posts 24

yes Vueling is a good European budget carrier owned by BA/Iberia. 

British Airways Executive Club Gold

25 Jun 2015

Total posts 21

IB Express and Niki are already oneworld affiliate members.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

What benefits could they provide? I could see Priority Check In and Boarding working with little cost to the LCC's. Maybe a few extra kg's baggage? 

06 Sep 2015

Total posts 24

earning status credits and points? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

I thought points and status credits was a given...

I couldn't see it being similar to what QFF's get on JQ as that currently includes lounge access.

That's the number one benefit I would have thought they wouldn't want to provide.

I could see most big carriers like BA, CX, QF putting their foot down when it comes to someone on a cheap ticket taking up space in a First or Business class lounge. (Qantas and Jetstar seems to be the exception to this).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 117

I assume whatever benefits Jetstar currently gives to Qantas frequent fliers with a status could just as well be given to other OW members

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 71

I think AC Jazz is already part of Star operating as AC Express. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

AC Jazz or Express is not low cost the regional operation of AC. The low cost airline is AC Rouge that is part of the SA program, as German Wings (Eurowings), NIKI is part of Air Berlin and part of OW.. WJ is already part of ONE WORLD Round the world ticket, Dragon Pacific is already part of OW... 

How would they preserve elite member benefits, when accommodating LCCs?

Would LCC's cost base go up to fulfill OW obligations?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

Suspect thats the biggest issue - as the LCCs generally run on skinny GDSs and the like.

That said as more and more leisure routes go to LCCs I would like to see it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2017

Total posts 25

OW already has a low cost airline in its ranks - BA.

On most short haul flights you now need to purchase check in baggage; you don't get to allocate seats when booking your flight; a few weeks ago, the free bag of chips (crisps) and drink has been replaced by a M&S menu that is more expensive than buying the equivalent at the M&S outlet in the terminals.

Changes have also been made on long haul. When flying Y+ from JFK to LHR a couple of weeks ago, I was offered a breakfast/museli bar from the old chip basket. Admittedly, the old croissant and jam wasn't much better, but at least it was "fresh".

18 May 2016

Total posts 5

When an LC comes to mind, WestJet would be a great fit for them. ACJ is part of AC so that means they are a part of Star Alliance so OW could easily pick up WS

13 May 2016

Total posts 13

I was gonna say the same thing rezzadogs. BA is basically the world's most overpriced LCC

They don't even give free water on short haul!

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