Just announced, details to come in their news conference tomorrow, but Air Berlin will be joining oneworld.
These integrations usually take 18 to 24 months, so don’t go out redeeming those American Airlines miles for Air Berlin flights between Miami and Europe and on to Egypt and Male just yet!
But it’s an interesting expansion, not one I would have predicted. First, with British Airways and Iberia and Hungarian oneworld is relatively well-positioned with European-based airlines. Second, because oneworld has tended to focus on premium carriers like Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and even British Airways. So a ‘discount carrier’ breaks the mold a bit.
Air Berlin is apparently the six-largest airline in Europe, and they reach Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
They fly mostly all-coach products but their Airbus A330s do offer business class, and they’ve got Boeing 787s on order which will presumably offer a premium cabin.
I wouldn’t call this a huge new acquisiton for oneworld, but it’s certainly an interesting and unexpected one.