Aer Lingus Has No Plans To Join Oneworld After All

Filed Under: Aer Lingus

In early 2015 Aer Lingus was taken over by IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia. I’ve always liked Aer Lingus as an airline, so in many ways I was sad to see them taken over by one of Europe’s mega-airlines.

Aer Lingus was a member of the oneworld alliance until 2006, at which point they left. They decided they weren’t deriving much benefit from their membership given that they were primarily a low cost carrier. However, with Aer Lingus being taken over by IAG, rumor had it that they’d rejoin the alliance.

Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG, went on record as saying that they intended to have Aer Lingus rejoin the oneworld alliance, and also join the oneworld transatlantic joint venture:

“The plan is Aer Lingus will rejoin the oneworld alliance and therefore will benefit from the arrangements that apply. We don’t have a specific timeline. We’re working as quickly as we can. I would expect it in 2017, but I don’t have an exact date.”

We hadn’t heard any updates on this for a long time, and I know I’ve certainly been wondering what the holdup was. As it turns out, it looks like Aer Lingus has had a change of heart, or maybe IAG and Aer Lingus just had different goals all along.

Hospitality Ireland reports that Aer Lingus no longer has plans to rejoin the oneworld alliance:

At the European Aviation Conference in Dublin City University yesterday, Kavanagh asserted, “We have no plans to join Oneworld. We still have to do the business case for joining OneWorld.”

The Aer Lingus CEO added, “We believe… that we can bring more choice to the market place and grow in connected businesses without compromising any of our existing businesses or the consumer. We’re about building cost efficiency and capacity.”

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand I’d like to see Aer Lingus join oneworld, as it would mean that all oneworld flyers would get elite benefits on Aer Lingus, and also have the ability to earn and redeem miles on them. Given that Aer Lingus often has attractive transatlantic fares, this would be a great airline to have be part of a global alliance.

On the other hand, if Aer Lingus joined oneworld they’d almost certainly cut some of their other unique partnerships, like the one that they have with United, which allows MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles on Aer Lingus. Furthermore, if they joined the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, it means they’d have fixed pricing with American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia. That’s great when there’s a fare sale, but less great otherwise.

Personally I’d view it as a mild positive if they joined oneworld, but it looks like that won’t be happening anytime soon.

Are you happy or sad that Aer Lingus isn’t joining oneworld anytime soon?

  1. Can’t help but notice the CEO’s view of the alliance, that by implication, joining it would compromise his business, and by implication, be dentrimental to cost effectiviness and capacity. Ties in with articles going about in the last couple of weeks about the future of airline alliances in general. “…..without compromising any of our existing businesses or the consumer. We’re about building cost efficiency and capacity.”
    Sad, as a OW alternative to BA would be—-would have been–so very welcome.

  2. If they joined oneworld, is there a limit on out of alliance codeshares? I.e would United and JetBlue partnerships have to end? Ignoring the other costs of re-branding and servicing elite customers, they have big out of alliance revenue deals.

    I am happy they aren’t joining. I like more competition across the atlantic, especially by bigger carriers than Norwegian who have IROP recovery options. While joining the JV may still ruin this, any separation is probably better for customers given the relative strength of the big alliances today which don’t really have holes in their networks or a lack of frequencies

  3. Too bad. Was hoping someone would save Oneworld travelers from them misery of LHR and BA. Iberia and Finnair aren’t enough.

  4. I’m neutral as I cant find any J (I for award) on them, ever. LAX-DUB would be the flight for me, but – nothing. Like ever. So who cares.

  5. When they left Oneworld in 2006, they were quoted stating that their business interest with some alliance members in different parts of the world are rather minimal. This certainly hasn’t changed. EI is not flying to Asia, Africa or Latin America. Therefore the only contact with carriers such as JL, CX, QF, LA, RJ is in London, Madrid and possibly a few other outstations (e.g. ZRH, AMS). On this basis, I can relate to their reluctancy.

    On the other hand side, I don’t understand why they don’t create any incentives at least inside IAG. As a BA (or IB) frequent flyer, I no incentives whatsoever to fly EI. I can’t collect tier points and have no status benefits on EI. So why should I fly EI …

  6. I think this is almost similar to what’s currently happening with Gol (G3). Delta and AF/KLM own some % of it. They have some reciprocal benefits between their FFP. But Gol still manages to partner with Air Canada, TAP Portugal, Copa Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar. And some of the Skyteam partners like Korean Air,Alitalia and Aerolines Argentina (fax, anyone?).

  7. Aer Lingus J passengers still have to use the crappy United lounge at SFO international, rather than the much better Qantas, JAL, Cathay and British lounges

  8. I actually see it as the easy solution for LEVEL. Level, as it stands, is still IB AOC and IB mainline costs.

    instead of spending the time and money on yet another AOC, just leverage the EI one. It’s a similar strategy on how LH Group is placing Brussels Air more in line with Eurowings

    another factor is both Norwegian and SAS that’s now running Irish subsidiaries at low cost. If IAG brings EI into oneworld (with all the associated cost and more full service image), it’ll make them even worse shape to compete against DY SK and Ryanair.

    This is purely a cost benefit tradeoff Call. Nothing about “death of alliances.”

  9. I would rather earn miles with UA than AA. As far lounge access, there are ways around using a United Club. I hope EI stays earning with UA, as I have goals for those miles.

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