Together, in the skies

As Royal Jordanian joins the Oneworld alliance, MAYSA ZUREIKAT puts a few questions to Oneworld managing partner, John McCulloch. Excerpts:

Could you tell us about the importance for this event for Oneworld?
The Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) is the first airline in the Middle East to find a home with a global alliance.

It is our biggest step since our inception eight years ago.

Furthermore, it is the first new member (out of a total of three) to join after six years. We are also very proud to have a member in this area with the quality of Royal Jordanian. Oneworld currently includes American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Lan Airlines, Malev Hungarian Airlines and Qantas.

What are your new alliances and strategies?
Our strategies were all about growth where we increased the number of memberships during the past three years in the Middle East, North East Africa and Central Europe. We still plan to discuss mainland China and India. The main strategy is now to increase cooperation between carriers in order to help exchange information qualifications.

What about expanding into the Gulf?
No, we have nothing planned for that at the moment.

Why aren’t other Middle Eastern carriers part of an alliance?
The reason why we chose RJ lies in the fact that we are not after building size not in adding businesses that are competing for the same destinations. Royal Jordanian’s plans suit us and its network suits ours so to us, it is a unique carrier for its module, business strategy, quality and regional network with the largest number of international Middle Eastern destinations and has been increasing frequency from primary and secondary destinations.

How does an alliance benefit the carriers?
For the carriers, joining Oneworld provides easy access to new destinations and they benefit from new ideas, best practices and staying up to date. With 18 out of 20 of the world’s biggest airlines linking up to the world’s three alliances, Oneworld offers services and value beyond the reach of individual airlines. It also helps boost the number of passengers, sales activities and fares, in addition to that it helps increase revenues through the interline feed among Oneworld carriers, which generates $1.8 billion. This is in addition to more cost savings by offering carriers benefits from joint purchasing of fuel, ground handling, engineering and, maintenance, catering, common specifications, commodity items. Passengers can contact any Oneworld member offices for assistance regarding change of reservations, ticket validity and so on.

What are the criteria for joining Oneworld?
For new members, the main thing we look at is quality. We have to be sure that when we pass customers from one airline to the other, that we do it with confidence. Also important is that the airline joining is a profit-making entity.

Does joining Oneworld mean that all members will be offering the same ticket fares to its clients?
No, but we do, however, plan to bid for global and low corporate contracts together in the future.