Alaska Airlines intends to join the oneworld alliance as it enters a new partnership with American Airlines aimed at connecting its US West Coast network with the bigger airline’s long-haul flights.
The airlines said the alliance would give West Coast travelers more international choices while offering seamless access across a broader network.
It will also provide strategic growth for both airlines and a boost for oneworld.
Alaska plans to join the global alliance by summer 2021, connecting its passengers to more than 1200 destinations worldwide.
American was a founding member of oneworld, the membership of which also includes Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Japan Airlines.
The two US carriers will continue their domestic codeshare and expand the arrangement to include codesharing on international routes Los Angeles and Alaska’s Seattle hub.
American will expand its flights from Seattle with the first service to Bangalore, India, in 2020 and a new Seattle-London Heathrow route from March 2021.
American said the new Seattle services would complement its international network from Los Angeles.
“India is a grossly underserved market, despite the number of businesses with a major presence in both India and the West Coast,’’ said American senior vice president network strategy Vasu Raja.
“By adding Seattle to Bangalore, we’re giving customers from more than 70 U.S. cities access to India in one stop or less — versus the two, three or four stops they’d have to make to get there in the past.”
Alaska and American loyalty members will enjoy benefits across both airlines, including the ability to earn and use miles on both carrier’s full networks, elite status reciprocity and lounge access.
This includes access to almost 50 American Admirals Club lounges worldwide and seven Alaska Lounges in the US.
“This alliance further opens the world for Alaska Airlines guests, whether traveling for business or pleasure,” said Alaska chief commercial officer Andrew Harrison.
“And importantly for our employees, and the communities we serve, this West Coast international alliance enables Alaska’s continued independent growth.
“As we’ve shared, we’re focused on delivering for our guests over the long-term – which means continued profitable growth to enable new aircraft and new opportunities. This supports those goals, and is an important step on the path.”
American president Robert Isom said Alaska had been an outstanding partner for 40 years.
“By connecting American’s strength in long-haul international flying and Alaska’s presence across the West Coast, we will build a better network for our customers than either airline could build alone,’’ he said.
“Together, we will deliver more value, benefits and choice for customers across the U.S. and around the globe.”