oneworld revealed its newest program, oneworld connect, at the 2018 IATA Summit in Sydney. Fiji Airways is set to become the first member of the new ‘membership lite’ alliance agreement.
Designed to be less complicated than the full membership process, each oneworld connect partner will need just three sponsoring members in the 13-airline alliance. Fiji Airways is backed by the four original oneworld members: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.
Through the new program, Fiji Airways will offer select elite benefits like priority boarding for Sapphire and Emerald members. Additional benefits, including mileage earning and redeeming, will be offered on sponsoring airlines. American, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas have existing codeshare agreements and redemption options. British Airways and Fiji Airways are in talks to deepen their relationship.
Other oneworld connect benefits announced at the summit include the ability to add a oneworld connect partner to the alliance’s around-the-world Global Explorer fare.
oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said:
“oneworld connect enables us to bring together more airlines to complement the alliance’s global leaders, so customers can earn rewards and feel recognised while traveling even further.”
Details of when the program is set to launch were not revealed at the summit.
Star Alliance launched a similar program in 2015. Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines became the first Star Alliance Connecting Partner in the program.
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I wonder why they didn’t just make them an affiliate partner like Com Air.