Russia’s leading domestic airline, S7 Airlines, is to join oneworld airline alliance. After being unanimously elected on board by the grouping’s existing ten member airlines, which include some of the best and biggest names in the industry, S7 will become part of oneworld, offering the alliance’s full range of services, benefits and fares, during 2010.
British Airways will support S7 through its 18-month alliance implementation programme, as its oneworld sponsor.
Its addition to oneworld will link one of the most extensive networks covering Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, with oneworld’s unrivalled global network, as the only alliance including airlines based on every continent.
S7 serves 72 destinations worldwide – 38 of them in Russia. It will add 54 cities to the oneworld map – 35 of them in Russia. It will bring eight countries onto the alliance’s network – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
This will expand oneworld’s network to nearly 750 destinations in almost 150 countries, served by a combined fleet of 2,300 aircraft operating almost 8,500 flights a day, carrying more than 330 million passengers a year.
It is the first carrier in Russia to convert to an all Western-built Airbus and Boeing fleet and the first to adopt full electronic ticketing and on-line reservations and sales. It holds the internationally recognised IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit) certification, renewed in October 2008.
It offers two-class in-flight product to international standards on all departures – Business Class and Economy.
Its fleet, decorated in a distinctive bright green livery, includes 26 Airbus A320 family types, seven Airbus A310 and two Boeing 767s, with an average age of nine years.
S7 carried 6 million passengers in 2008, with a bigger share of the domestic Russian air travel market than any other airline. Including its international network, it is Russia’s second biggest carrier.
S7’s main hub Moscow Domodedovo – the capital’s most modern airport – is served also by oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian. Its secondary hubs are Novosibirsk and Irkutsk. Its international destinations include oneworld hubs Madrid and Bangkok.
Besides Moscow Domodedovo, oneworld’s existing members currently serve three other destinations in Russia – Moscow Sheremetyevo, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.
In the months ahead, S7 will adapt key internal processes into line with oneworld requirements, link its IT systems to those of its oneworld partners and carry out an extensive employee training and communications programmes to ensure that S7 employees worldwide are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits from day one.
An exact date will be confirmed for it to join during 2010, once all its pre-joining requirements are sufficiently progressed.
Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of British Airways, S7’s oneworld sponsor, said: “S7 is a perfect fit for oneworld. It has a strong focus on customer service and safety and its network will be able to integrate effectively with the existing oneworld network. oneworld’s priority is the quality rather than quantity of member airlines, which is why British Airways is delighted to be developing our relationship with S7 further by acting as its sponsor into the alliance.”
S7 Chief Executive Vladimir Obyedkov said: “S7 Airlines is delighted to be joining the world’s leading quality global airline alliance. Becoming part of oneworld is one of the most significant steps in S7’s history. It will enable us to offer our customers a truly global network served by partners who include some of the best known and most admired airlines in the world, while our frequent flyers will have more opportunities to earn and redeem mileage rewards and enjoy all their other benefits. It will also strengthen us financially, through revenues from passengers transferring to our network from our oneworld partners and the cost reduction opportunities the alliance offers.”