And Then There Were Eleven
Oneworld adds Russia's S7 Airlines to its alliance
Russia's leading domestic airline, S7 Airlines, is to join oneworld® after being unanimously elected on board by the grouping's existing ten member airlines. S7 will become part of oneworld, offering the alliance's full range of services, benefits, and fares during 2010 and linking oneworld to one of the most extensive networks covering Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
S7 is Russia's leading airline in terms of domestic passenger carryings, customer service quality and innovation, and which serves 72 destinations worldwide. Their addition to the alliance will add 54 cities to the oneworld map - 35 of them in Russia, and bring eight countries onto the alliance's network - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. With oneworld the only alliance with member airlines based on every continent, S7 will expand the alliance's network to nearly 750 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,300 aircraft operating almost 8,500 flights a day, carrying more than 330 million passengers a year.
S7 also prides itself as being the first carrier in Russia to convert to an all western-built Airbus and Boeing fleet and the first to adopt full electronic ticketing and on-line reservations and sales.
While it begins its 18-month alliance implementation program with the support of British Airways as its oneworld sponsor, it will take its first step by adding its network to the Global Explorer round-the-world fare offered by all oneworld member airlines and selected carriers that are not part of the alliance, from June 1, 2009.
In the course of its implementation, S7 will adapt key internal processes into line with oneworld requirements, link its IT systems to those of its oneworld partners ,and carry out an extensive employee training and communications programs to ensure that S7 employees worldwide are ready to provide oneworld's hallmark customer services and benefits from day one.
An exact date will be confirmed for it to join during 2010, once all its pre-joining requirements are sufficiently progressed.
Oneworld managing partner John McCulloch stated: "S7 fills one of oneworld's few remaining membership 'white spaces' with a carrier that matches our alliance's demanding quality requirements. It will expand oneworld's presence substantially in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, while enabling S7 to offer its customers a truly global network on quality partners. We are delighted to welcome them to the oneworld alliance."
S7 Chief Executive Vladimir Obyedkov said: "S7 Airlines is delighted to be joining the world's leading quality global airline alliance. Becoming part of oneworld is one of the most significant steps in S7's history. It will enable us to offer our customers a truly global network served by partners who include some of the best known and most admired airlines in the world, while our frequent flyers will have more opportunities to earn and redeem mileage rewards and enjoy all their other benefits. It will also strengthen us financially, through revenues from passengers transferring to our network from our oneworld partners and the cost reduction opportunities the alliance offers."