German carrier Air Berlin has accepted an invitation for it to start the process of joining the oneworld airline alliance, with the full membership expected to be completed by early 2012.
Air Berlin will develop one-on-one co-operative agreements with key established members of the alliance American Airlines and Finnair, to take effect this coming winter season. Bilateral agreements with British Airways and Iberia are planned to follow. BA will also sponsor Air Berlin’s membership.
“Air Berlin will make an ideal oneworld partner,” said BA CEO Willie Walsh. “It has an excellent reputation for customer service – right in line with oneworld’s focus on quality above quantity in terms of membership. Its network is one of the best in Central Europe, expanding the alliance’s coverage of this region markedly.”
The announcement continues a big year for oneworld, which is in the process of adding Russia’s S7 Airlines and India’s Kingfisher Airways to the group.