Six more pairs of airlines to add interline e-ticketing, keeping oneworld on track for full roll-out by year end

31 March 2004

Six more pairs of oneworld™ carriers will launch interline electronic ticketing (e-ticketing) in the next few weeks, keeping the world's most international airline grouping on track to become the first global alliance to offer this customer convenience between all of its members.

With four pairs of partners already offering interline e-ticketing, this latest phase of implementation takes oneworld more than a third of the way towards its goal of completing its full roll-out between all eight of its existing partners by the end of this year, along with Swiss International Air Lines which is on track to join later this year.

These links between the oneworld partners represent around one in five interline e-ticket agreements in place throughout the entire world airline industry, according to recent statistics from IATA, the global air transport association.

Aer Lingus and British Airways will both implement their first interline e-ticketing agreements next month, with American Airlines in each case.

British Airways and Qantas aim then to roll out e-tickets on their kangaroo routes between Europe and Australia, including the midway points of Bangkok and Singapore, and introduce interline e-ticketing between them across their joint network, including all their code-share services.

During the following weeks, Iberia will offer its first interline e-ticketing, too – with American again. This will make American the first oneworld member to offer this benefit with all of the other alliance partners. Beyond oneworld, American already offers interline e-ticketing with 11 US carriers – more than any other airline.

Meanwhile, British Airways plans next to introduce the service with both Aer Lingus and Finnair and with the remaining oneworld partners during the following few months.

oneworld was the first of the global airline groupings to commit to interline e-ticketing throughout all of its partners, some 18 months before any of its competitors made a similar pledge.

American set the ball rolling in May 2002 with oneworld partner Finnair, becoming the world's first airlines based on separate continents to introduce interline e-ticketing. American extended the service in July last year to fellow oneworld member LanChile, and to Cathay Pacific and Qantas in November.

It will be extended on a phased basis by the end of 2004 between all oneworld airlines and Swiss International Air Lines, which is on track to join the alliance later this year.

oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "These latest links keep us firmly ahead of the competition in improving the experience for our customers in this key area, enabling more of them to transfer more smoothly and easily between our member airlines, making it easier still to reach more places around the world.

"We continue to work closely with all oneworld partners to make our alliance the first to offer interline e-ticketing throughout our grouping, by the end of this year, with all the advantages that means for both our customers and member airlines."

Interline e-ticketing eliminates the need for customers to have paper tickets for travel, thus enabling faster, easier connections between carriers. Customers with electronic tickets traveling on a journey involving a transfer between two airlines can be checked right through to their final destination, without the need for traditional paper tickets, eliminating queues and making connections smoother and more reliable.

In addition, it makes rebooking from a flight on one airline to a service operated by another carrier more simple – if the need arises – with no need to obtain a paper ticket first and then have that paper ticket endorsed by a sales agent.

Electronic tickets are being used increasingly throughout the airline industry. Consumers prefer them because of the many advantages they provide. Electronic tickets cannot be lost or stolen. They make check-in quicker and smoother, helping eliminate queues at airports by giving customers access to the speed and convenience of new automation features, such as self-service check-in devices. Changes and refunds can also be made faster and easier than with paper tickets.

Besides enabling them to respond to this consumer preference, e-tickets and interline e-ticketing also provide substantial savings for the airlines, by eliminating costly paper tickets and processes.

Between them, oneworld's existing eight member airlines plus member elect SWISS serve more countries than any global airline alliance, with flights to more than 570 destinations in 135 countries. Members of any oneworld airline's frequent flyer programme can earn awards and points on eligible fares and redeem them throughout this network. The eight airlines and their affiliates carried more than 220 million passengers last year on a combined fleet of almost 2.000 aircraft, earning revenues of some US$50 billion. oneworld was recently named the World's Leading Airline Alliance in the World Travel Awards, based on votes cast by 80.000 travel agencies professionals from more than 200 countries.