Irish Airline Leaves Oneworld Alliance

01 June 2006

Ireland's state-owned Aer Lingus has announced a parting of routes from the Oneworld global airline alliance.

The company joined the group as a full service carrier in 2000, but has subsequently remodelled its business strategy to compete with low-cost flights leader Ryanair, also headquartered in Ireland

Aer Lingus has diverged considerably from most other Oneworld airlines in Europe. On all short-haul services it has ditched business class in favour of all-economy fare cabins and has scrapped free inflight catering.

Ceo Dermot Mannion says alliance membership has "inevitably become less relevant for the airline over time". The carrier's future lies in the expansion of its short and long-haul destinations, to which Dubai is the latest addition.

The company is planning to fund its growth through partial privatisation and an IPO is due to be completed in the fall.

Oneworld, led by British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, is also seeking to expand and extend its reach into the emerging markets of India, China and Latin America. It has in its recruitment sights the China Eastern and Mexicana carriers.

Next year it will welcome to its ranks Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Malev Hungarian.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff