HONG KONG (Cathay Pacific) - Royal Jordanian will be the first carrier from the Levant, Middle East and Gulf region to be elected on board any of the global airline groupings - and the first airline accepted to join oneworld for more than five years.
It accepted its invitation to join at a ceremony today conducted in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein at the Royal Palace in Amman, the airline’s home base.
Representing oneworld and its existing members were:
Fernando Conte, Chairman and Chief Executive of Iberia and current Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board.
John McCulloch, oneworld’s Managing Partner.
Representing Royal Jordanian were its Chairman Dr Ummaya Toukan and President and Chief Executive Samer Majali.
Royal Jordanian has already satisfied oneworld’s key pre-joining audits, assuring the grouping that it can deliver the alliance’s services, benefits and processes and also match its demanding quality and safety standards.
Work will now begin on connecting its IT systems to those of its new partners, bringing key internal processes into line with oneworld requirements, training its employees to deliver oneworld products, customer benefits and support, and completing the other tasks needed before it can become a fully-fledged member of the alliance.
It should start offering oneworld services and benefits, as a fully-fledged member of the alliance, at around the turn of 2006/2007.
Fernando Conte, Chairman and Chief Executive of Iberia and Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, said: “oneworld’s focus during the past few years has been on helping our member airlines weather the financial turbulence that has rocked this industry, by building revenues and cutting costs. The results of this strategy are reflected in oneworld being the only alliance whose members are collectively profitable. Now our member airlines are at the stage where they feel it is sensible for the alliance to recruit in regions where we would like to broaden our network. We are delighted that Royal Jordanian will fill that role for oneworld in the growing Middle Eastern market.”
Martin Broughton, Chairman of sponsor British Airways, said: “Royal Jordanian is an excellent fit for oneworld. It meets the high quality customer standards that oneworld demands of all its members, with a network that complements what we currently offer. It is profitable, with a management in tune with our approach to business. We at British Airways look forward to working with our new colleagues to bring Royal Jordanian on board the world’s leading quality alliance.”
Royal Jordanian’s Chief Executive Samer Majali said: “Accepting oneworld’s invitation to join is an exciting step for Royal Jordanian. The Middle East is the fastest growing aviation market, and we are the first airline from this region to find a home in a global alliance. There is no doubt that our future strategy and recent performance make us an attractive partner for other high quality airlines. This development is in tune with our ambition to privatise and to strengthen Amman’s role as a regional hub. We are delighted to strengthen oneworld’s excellent worldwide network with better coverage of our region.
“Our passengers are increasingly asking more from us and oneworld will extend our reach enormously. Royal Jordanian’s passengers will enjoy privileged access to a group of airlines that we trust and are certain to take excellent care of them.”
oneworld affiliate BMED, which operates as a franchisee of British Airways, is the only oneworld member currently serving Royal Jordanian’s home market, with daily flights between Amman and the alliance’s main European hub London Heathrow. Its Managing Director David Richardson was also in Amman for today’s activities.
At present, Iberia is the only oneworld partner with a bilateral agreement with Royal Jordanian, code-sharing on the latter’s flights between their Amman and Madrid home bases. Bilateral agreements between Royal Jordanian and the alliance’s other existing members are expected to be developed in hand with its recruitment to the grouping.
Royal Jordanian has an extensive network throughout the Levant, Middle East and Gulf region. Further afield, it currently operates to established oneworld hubs London Heathrow, Madrid, Barcelona, New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare and Bangkok.
It will add two countries to the oneworld map (Iraq and Yemen) and 10 destinations - Al Arish and Alexandria (Egypt), Al Ain (UAE), Aden and Sanaa (Yemen), Dammam and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Aqaba (Jordan), and Baghdad, Basra and Irbil (Iraq). This will extend the alliance’s network to 135 territories and 609 destinations.