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Briefs: Oneworld adds a member; Air Canada names new subsidiary

In news of international carriers, the Oneworld alliance set a February 1 date for the formal integration of its newest member; Air Canada reveals more plans about its new low-cost subsidiary; and Australian officials give tentative approval for a major new Qantas partnership.

  • The Oneworld alliance said that on February 1 it will add Malaysia Airlines as its newest member. The carrier has been working for 18 months to enhance and integrate its systems with those of other Oneworld carriers. When it formally joins the group, frequent flyer members of other Oneworld carriers—including American Airlines and British Airways—will be able to earn and redeem miles on Malaysia flights, and top-tier members will have access to the airline’s airport lounges. The new member’s home country is served by Oneworld members Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Royal Jordanian flying to Kuala Lumpur; Cathay Pacific to Penang; and Cathay affiliate Dragonair to Kota Kinabulu.

  • Air Canada said its new discount affiliate carrier will be called Rouge, and will start flying July 1, 2013, with an initial fleet of two 767s and two A319s. The airline will initially fly from Toronto to Edinburgh, Venice and Athens, as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Edinburgh and Venice are not currently served by Air Canada itself. Rouge will focus on low fares—e.g., introductory prices to Europe under $1,000 roundtrip—and will eventually expand to a fleet of 50 aircraft, with departures from other Canadian gateways to more international destinations.

  • Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission has given a tentative approval to Qantas’ plan for a big new international partnership with Emirates for travel between Australia and Europe. A final decision is expected by March. The plan calls for the two airlines to coordinate schedules and pricing on flights in the Australia-Europe market, along with mutual frequent flyer benefits. “Our customer research has shown very strong support for the Qantas and Emirates partnership, particularly in terms of increasing one-stop access to Europe, cutting travel time and offering frequent flyer benefits,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

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