VANCOUVER, British Columbia – oneworld® today announced plans to relocate its headquarters to New York under new leadership, in the latest step to establish itself firmly as the world’s premier alliance in what is turning out to be its “breakthrough year”.
The move – from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – will enable its central alliance team to keep its finger right on the pulse of the world’s single biggest air travel market, with New York’s airports used by 110 million passengers a year.
New York is served by more flights by more oneworld member airlines than any other city worldwide, with 10 of the alliance’s 14 existing and designate members flying to at least one of its airports. Between them, they serve the city’s three main gateways of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, and four other airports in New York State. New York is also one of American Airlines five cornerstone hubs, anchoring its US network, and a critical gateway for its services to Europe, Asia and Latin America.
As part of the transition, oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch has informed the oneworld Governing Board that for family reasons he is not in a position to relocate, and after 10 years with the central alliance team – the last seven as Managing Partner – now is as good a time as any for him to hand over.
He will be succeeded by airline industry veteran Bruce Ashby, who joins the central alliance team today as oneworld Chief Executive. After 16 years working for U.S. airlines, latterly as Senior Vice-President Alliances and then Executive Vice-President Marketing for USAirways, Ashby then spent the past five years leading carriers in India and the Middle East, as Chief Executive of IndiGo and then of SAMA Airlines.
Gerard Arpey, Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board and Chairman and Chief Executive of American Airlines, said: “On behalf of our entire oneworld Governing Board, I want to thank John McCulloch for his leadership, commitment and pivotal role during the past decade in positioning oneworld firmly as the world’s premier alliance. We are equally fortunate that John can pass the baton to Bruce, who brings a track record of tremendous experience, success and knowledge of our industry to oneworld as we continue to strengthen its competitive position and service to customers.”
John McCulloch said: “It’s been a real privilege to be part of oneworld virtually from its birth to positioning it firmly as the world’s leading airline alliance. The relocation of our central alliance team to the world’s biggest airline market at this stage in oneworld’s evolution makes clear sense. Personal circumstances prevent me from being part of that future, but I am committed to achieving a full and seamless transition, working with Bruce as he beds in, to ensure oneworld continues on its journey towards pre-eminence.”
New Chief Executive Bruce Ashby commented: “oneworld has set the benchmark in the increasingly important arena of airline alliances, with its grouping of best-in-class carriers from each region and its focus on quality and innovation. It is a privilege to be invited to succeed John McCulloch to lead oneworld forward, as it becomes an even more vital element of its member airlines’ own strategies.”
Premises for the new oneworld headquarters in New York have been secured at 2 Park Avenue, Manhattan.
They will also house the team managing the new trans-Atlantic joint business launched in October by oneworld partners American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. Bringing these various functions together will maximize synergies between these key elements of the alliance, particularly in developing more new services and benefits for customers.
The 46,200 sq ft facility will also accommodate the New York offices of American, British Airways and a number of other oneworld member airlines.
Besides the 25-strong central oneworld team, up to 210 employees from across the alliance’s member airlines will be based there, in a largely “open plan” layout, designed to promote collaboration across the alliance teams. The first of them should move in there in mid-summer 2011.
oneworld Governing Board Chairman Gerard Arpey said: “Our decision to relocate and consolidate offices in New York is another important accomplishment during a milestone year for oneworld. New York is a critical global hub for oneworld and a key focus of our trans-Atlantic joint business. As we transition to a new home we also thank Vancouver for its support during oneworld’s first decade.”
The move to New York is the latest key step taken by oneworld in what is turning into a breakthrough year for the alliance, with:
The addition of S7 Airlines, Russia’s leading domestic carrier, last month.
The signing of India’s leading carrier, Kingfisher Airlines, and Europe’s fifth biggest airline, airberlin, as members elect.
The launch of a trans-Atlantic joint business between American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia after gaining long-awaited anti-trust immunity in both the USA and Europe.
Approval from authorities in both the U.S. and Japan for a joint business between American Airlines and Japan Airlines (JAL) covering their services between North America and Asia, following JAL’s reaffirmation of its oneworld membership earlier this year and its deepening of cooperation with its oneworld partners.
British Airways and Iberia on track to complete their merger by the end of the year.
LAN Airlines celebrating its 10th anniversary as a oneworld member on June 1.
oneworld adding both the Global Traveler GT Tested 2010 Awards” Best Airline Alliance and World Airline Awards’ World’s Best Alliance titles to the World Travel Awards’ World’s Leading Airline Alliance trophies it has won for the past eight years.
About Bruce Ashby, oneworld’s new Chief Executive
Bruce Ashby entered the airline industry in 1987 as a consultant, and then full-time in 1989 as Manager Operations Research with United Airlines. He remained with United until 1995, serving in several positions, including Vice-President Financial Planning and Analysis and Vice-President Finance and Treasurer.
He then moved to Delta Airlines, as Vice-President Marketing Development.
In 1996, he joined USAirways as Vice-President Financial Planning and Analysis. In 1997, he was named its Senior Vice-President Planning and then, in 1999, Senior Vice-President Corporate Development and IT.
He served as USAirways Senior Vice-President Alliances from 2003 to early 2005 – as the airline joined Star Alliance – before stepping up to become Executive Vice-President Marketing. At the same time, he also led USAirways Express, the group’s regional operation, as its President, from 2003 to 2005.
During this time, he played a central role in the restructuring of USAirways out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and negotiating and planning its merger with America West.
As the merger was completed in late 2005, he moved to India to launch Indigo as its CEO. After three years leading the Indian airline, he was recruited in late 2008 to serve as CEO of Saudi Arabia’s SAMA Airlines.
Besides English, he speaks French, Italian and some Hindi. Aged 49 and with U.S. citizenship, he is a graduate of Stanford University and based in Virginia, near Washington DC.