airberlin is now part of oneworld

airberlin today became part of oneworld®, adding the second biggest airline in Germany and the sixth biggest in the continent overall to the world's premier global airline alliance.

Austria's NIKI, also a member of the airberlin group, joined oneworld as an affiliate member at the same time - as the clocks struck midnight in Berlin this morning.

Both airlines are from today offering oneworld's services and benefits - and substantially expanding the alliance's network in Germany, Austria and throughout Central and South Europe.

Joining oneworld will strengthen airberlin's competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.

Customers benefit from expanded global network and increased competition

For oneworld, airberlin's addition makes Germany a home market for the alliance - stepping up competition for some 200 million passengers a year flying to, from and within Europe's biggest economy.

Currently Germany is one of only a handful of countries worldwide served by all oneworld's active member airlines. airberlin's addition more than triples the number of cities served by the alliance there to 25, while NIKI doubles its coverage of Austria to six airports.

Worldwide as one of Europe's major airlines, airberlin serves a total of 162 destinations in 40 countries. Almost 70 of those airports, along with the countries of Iceland and Iraq, are new to the oneworld network, extending oneworld's global coverage to some 800 destinations in 150 countries, served by more than 8,750 departures a day carrying nearly a million passengers a day on a combined fleet of almost 2,500 aircraft, generating annual revenues of almost US$ 100 billion.

airberlin and NIKI's networks will be covered by oneworld's marketing leading alliance fares and sales products from 1 April 2012.

That includes participation in businessflyerTM, the alliance's offering for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in most countries where it is offered - Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands. airberlin already offers a similar product of its own in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, in its business points programme.

Extended frequent flyer benefits - with ‘double miles' offer to celebrate

Members of airberlin's topbonus programme now enjoy the full range of oneworld frequent flyer benefits when travelling with any oneworld member airline worldwide - American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and almost 20 affiliated airlines.

topbonus members can now earn and redeem miles on any oneworld flight. In celebration of the airline's addition to the group, they will receive double topbonus award miles when flying on airberlin's oneworld partners until 15 May 2012, if they register online first at airberlin.com/miles.

Holders of the new topbonus Platinum Card and the established topbonus Gold Card - which are equivalent to oneworld's Emerald and Sapphire frequent flyer tiers respectively - can now use more than 550 airport lounges worldwide.

The 120 million members of the established oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes can now earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits on airberlin and NIKI.

Members of oneworld airlines' loyalty programmes will receive double the normal mileage awards when flying on airberlin until 15 May 2012, to mark its addition to the alliance.

All oneworld airline CEOs attend joining ceremony - with first aircraft at BER Brandenburg

Chief Executives from all oneworld member airlines gathered at airberlin's Berlin home today to welcome on board the alliance's latest recruit.

Its joining ceremony is the first airline media event at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which will be airberlin's new home base and Europe's newest hub, when it opens on 3 June.

Those attending will also be the first to see any aircraft in front of the new airport terminal - with the first airberlin aircraft adorned with the oneworld alliance livery, an Airbus A330-200, and one of the airline's Boeing 737-800 making a special visit.

airberlin and its alliance partners will be co-located at Berlin Brandenburg, sharing lounges and many other facilities, to offer customers there the smoothest of connections.

Joining airberlin Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn at today's ceremony are expected to be:

    * American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive, and Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, Tom Horton.
    * British Airways Chief Executive Keith Williams.
    * Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive John Slosar
    * Finnair President and Chief Executive Mika Vehvilainen
    * IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh.
    * Iberia Chief Executive Rafael Sánchez-Lozano.
    * Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi.
    * LAN International Chief Executive Damian Scokin
    * Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce.
    * Royal Jordanian Chief Executive Hussein Dabbas.
    * S7 Group Chief Executive Vladislav Filev.
    * Member elect Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.
    * oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby.

Also attending will be NIKI Managing Directors Christian Lesjak and Otmar Lenz.

    * You can watch highlights of airberlin's oneworld joining ceremony via a webcast from 2 pm Berlin time (1 pm GMT) today - see airberlin.com/oneworld_media

New oneworld IT hub smooths recruit's implementation

airberlin's addition to oneworld completes what has been one of the biggest projects in the airline's history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity, bringing its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance's requirements, and running extensive employee training and communications programmes.

Since accepting its invitation to join the alliance in July 2010, airberlin has implemented code-sharing with seven established oneworld partners - American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, S7 Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

British Airways has been supporting airberlin through its alliance implementation project, as its oneworld sponsor airline, with backing from the central oneworld team.

Behind the scenes, the project has been smoothed by the launch of a new oneworld information technology (IT) hub, using latest "cloud" and web-based technology, which makes it easier, more efficient and faster to link new airlines into the alliance - with airberlin the first of its recruits to benefit.

Massive marketing drive launched to highlight airberlin's addition to oneworld

airberlin's addition to oneworld today is being promoted by of one of the biggest marketing campaigns in the airline's history, too.

Everywhere the airberlin or NIKI logos are seen, the oneworld logo will now be added - from airport check-in desks, sales counters and lounges to ticket wallets, boarding cards and other items of stationery.

More aircraft in its fleet will be painted in the oneworld livery seen for the first time on one of the airline's Airbus A330-200s today at Berlin Brandenburg, with oneworld logos being added by the main passenger door on every one of the 170 aircraft in the airberlin and NIKI fleet.

All Platinum, Gold and Silver cardholders of its airberlin topbonus programme have been sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo and "gemstone" tier indicator, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from today when travelling throughout the entire oneworld global network.

airberlin and oneworld will also be staging an extensive advertising campaign to highlight the airline's addition to the alliance.

What the CEOs said

airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said: "Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant departures for airberlin. It will strengthen our competitive position considerably, enabling us to offer our customers a truly global network together with our partners who include some of the best and biggest airlines in the world, while enabling us also to tap into all the financial benefits that come from being part of a global alliance, through additional passenger feed and participation in various efficiency programmes. We are very pleased and proud to be lining up to join what is clearly the world's top quality airline grouping".

American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive, and Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, Tom Horton, stated: "oneworld's focus is on frequent international travellers and we believe we offer unmatched coverage of the routes they most want to fly, linking the world's leading business cities. airberlin adds one of the most attractive networks serving Europe's biggest economy, so travelers in this region now truly have an alternative choice for their travel worldwide."

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, parent company of airberlin's oneworld sponsor British Airways, added: "Our aim has always been to establish oneworld as the first choice alliance for the world's frequent international travellers - with an unrivalled collection of quality carriers, delivering unmatched benefits to customers and to member airlines alike. That remains our focus today, as the alliance adds another great airline."