IAG chief executive Willie Walsh is taking over as the chairman of oneworld for the year ahead. He succeeds American Airlines’ chairman Tom Horton, who has filled the role since December 2011.
Willie will act as “first among equals” of the CEOs of oneworld’s member airlines, starting his tenure as the alliance completes its biggest yet expansion drive with the addition of:

  • TAM Airlines on Monday (March 31). TAM is the leading carrier in Brazil, South America’s biggest economy and the world’s third biggest domestic market for air travel. Its entry, alongside LAN, consolidates oneworld’s position as the leading alliance for South America.
  • US Airways, also on Monday (March 31). US Airways’ merger with oneworld founding member American Airlines creates the world’s biggest airline and giving oneworld the leading alliance position in the USA, the world’s biggest domestic air travel market.
  • SriLankan Airlines, on May 1, as the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any global airline alliance.

With these recruits and the alliance’s established member airlines alongside BA – airberlin, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and more than 30 of their affiliated carriers – oneworld will:

  • Serve almost a thousand airports in 150 countries, with more than 14,000 daily departures.
  • Carry more than 500 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of some 3,300 aircraft.
  • Offer more than 600 airport lounges.
  • Generate more than US$ 140 billion annual revenues.

oneworld chief executive Bruce Ashby said: “We thank Tom Horton sincerely for his leadership of oneworld during a period of unprecedented growth for the alliance and at a time when his own American Airlines has been undergoing its merger with US Airways. He has played a pivotal role in strengthening oneworld also through the significant deepening of cooperation between American and so many of our other member airlines in recent years.

“We are fortunate to have, in Willie Walsh, a man with the vision, determination and overall skills and capabilities to lead us forward in the next phase of our journey to establish oneworld firmly as the first choice alliance for frequent international travellers the world over.”