The new Joint Business announced this week involving American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia is welcome news for travelers between the U.S. and Europe. Since being awarded anti-trust immunity in the transatlantic market in July the three oneworld® carriers can work together to provide passenger with:
Better, more convenient schedules (e.g., JFK-London Heathrow AA and BA flights will be spaced at intervals, not departing often at identical times as before)
More flexible pricing, with ability to price-shop within the Joint Business (e.g., AA may offer a better price on a JFK-London Heathrow outbound and BA may offer a better price on the return)
Better timing in between transatlantic and connecting flights in both Europe and U.S.
Ability to earn/burn frequent flyer miles interchangeably on AA, BA and Iberia.
The Joint Business will also enable American to introduce a new route from JFK to Budapest next Spring, and to add another daily flight from JFK to Barcelona, for a total of two a day. Next year will also see the start-up of Chicago-Helsinki (operated by American), London Heathrow-San Diego (operated by British Airways) and Madrid-Los Angeles (operated by Iberia).
We hear plenty about airline mergers these days – United and Continental, Southwest and Airtran -- but mergers aren’t the only way to extend networks and please customers. Airline alliances like the premier oneworld Alliance are great way for airlines like American, BA and Iberia to offer connections to almost any spot on the globe. And when alliance members can obtain antitrust immunity and establish a joint business to make those connections seamless and frequent-flyer-mile-producing, the payoff for the customer becomes formidable.
A great airline alliance and the chance to form a Joint Business through antitrust immunity is just as valuable for travelers in the Pacific market. Just today (yes it’s been a big day for airline news!), American Airlines and Japan Airlines, (Japan Airlines is also a member of oneworld), today welcomed an order issued by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively approving the antitrust immunity application filed by the two airlines in February.
This moves American and Japan Airlines another step closer to being able to form the same kind of Joint Business announced today for the transatlantic market. Under an immunized agreement, the two airlines will cooperate commercially on flights between North America and Asia while continuing to operate as separate legal entities. Consumers will benefit from, among other things, improved schedule and routing choices, and will continue to receive reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and airport lounge access.
But American is already planning big things for Japan. On January 20, it will begin flights from JFK to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Haneda is a full hour (yes – 30 minutes vs. 90 minutes) closed to central Tokyo than Narita Airport, which is currently dedicated to flights from North America.
And finally, one more piece of related news from American Airlines. The airline announced this week it is sending recall notices to 545 flight attendants and 250 pilots – largely due to its efforts to capitalize on new international flying and business opportunities with British Airways and Iberia, continuing to strengthen its cornerstone hubs, and preparing for its pending alliance with Japan Airlines.