Starting Q1 2012, Oneworld will get a big push in its network expansion with the addition of 3 new members from different geographies. Air Berlin from Germany, Kingfisher from India and Malaysia Airlines will give Oneworld reach into these new markets for the alliance.
All the three airlines operate in markets which can prove really lucrative for the alliance, With Air Berlin already having established a tie-up with American Airlines the alliance has been able to get a foothold in the lucrative German market and get a good hub in the center of Europe the earlier hubs (Helsinki, London, Madrid and Budapest) covered up the European fringes, with this addition in the heart of the continent Europe is now well networked by the alliance.
Kingfisher which is the only 5-star airline from India, has a great reputation preceding it but given that its recent financial difficulties have got it enough bad press, the move into the alliance would be a welcome relief for the airline and also make Oneworld the first alliance to have an Indian partner after Star Alliance and Air India talks fell through. Kingfisher could really benefit from the alliance and help in connecting Indian passengers to other Oneworld hubs through its partners and also expect a healthy growth in its revenues thereby helping it to stay afloat.
Malaysia Airlines would provide the alliance with a strong foothold in the booming South East Asian market and may also prompt Qantas which is the currently operating out of its Singapore base to think about Kuala Lumpur as the base for its new Asian airline and with Malaysia Airlines ready to take delivery of its first Airbus A380 next year, this could really prove to be an important decisive factor for Business Travelers to the region whom the alliance is planning to target big time.
All in all this seems to be a great deal for the airlines and the alliance giving them the much needed boost and the best of the benefits to the travelers. What remains to be seen is, will a Middle East carrier (read Etihad) join them anytime soon? Given that it is quite cosy with the alliance airlines and specially American Airlines, well only time will tell.