This has been long coming. It has been no secret that March 20th, 2012 will be the joining date of Airberlin and its Austria based Niki affiliate to the Oneworld alliance. All the heads of Oneworld alliance airlines will be in attendance when the official ceremony will take place later today at the Berlin’s new airport that is scheduled to open this June.
This is good news for Oneworld. Hungary based Malev went just under and Kingfisher that was scheduled to join the Oneworld is on the verge of bankruptcy in India. Airberlin complements the network of current European Oneworld members of British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and the Russian S7 very well. There was a hint of double miles for airberlin flights credited to other Oneworld carriers, but I think that we may have to wait few hours for more information about that.
Airberlin doesn’t have business class on the shorthaul network and the business class on the longhaul one is on the older side. Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi owns a share of more than 29% of airberlin and uses them as the feeder for their international network. Etihad is not part of any alliance, although is a codeshare and frequent flier partner of American Airlines.