Alaska Airlines partnered with Oneworld barely seven months ago. Since then, the carrier has been striving relentlessly to rollout codeshares with different partners. So far, the airline has added almost 200 incremental codeshare routes with five Oneworld partners, and more are coming in the future.
With long-haul international routes recovering, Alaska is now expressing growing enthusiasm at the new client base that it can now access. Alaska Airlines became the 14th member of the Oneworld alliance that has brought it a lot of benefits.
Alaska Airlines Unleashes Codeshares
While speaking on the airline’s third-quarter earnings call, Alaska’s Chief Revenue Officer, Andrew Harrison, said the following about the new routes:
“So far in 2021, we’ve added 195 incremental codeshare routes with five Oneworld partners, increasing our codeshare portfolio by 43%. This figure includes our recently announced agreements with Iberia and with Qatar. In very short order, we’ve seen Qatar become one of our top international partners as they efficiently connect our network with their nonstop services between Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with their global hub in Doha. The Seattle-Doha nonstop, which was launched in January, has been especially strong.”
The Oneworld alliance membership has given Alaska Airlines the ability to serve more international destinations. As highlighted, it is mostly the airline’s West Coast bases, where Alaska has the biggest network.
Growing Access To Corporate Travel
The biggest benefit for Alaska is that it can access some new corporate travel accounts due to its partnerships. While Alaska has huge coverage to most of the United States, the airline had no close relationships to leverage for international long-haul connectivity. It put the airline at a disadvantage for bigger, multinational corporate travel.
American and Alaska Airlines have been working to expand their corporate contracts out of the West Coast.
Since it announced that it will join the Oneworld alliance, American Airlines ranks as the leading Oneworld airline on adding new flying to and from Alaska’s hubs. So far, American has announced three new destinations that include Shanghai, Bangalore, and London.
Shanghai and Bangalore have not launched since Alaska joined the alliance, due to the travel restrictions and limited corporate demand. Bangalore is a huge tech hub in India, and there is a lot of demand from the huge corporate hubs of Seattle and San Francisco to Bangalore.
For now, Alaska’s codeshare partnership seems to be much more extensive with American Airline than any other airline.
Furthermore, due to the extensive codeshares, Alaska Airlines can market many connections to Asia and Europe. It includes both leisure and business destinations. While a business traveler has to go to Zurich or London for work, using their miles to visit Athens or Venice on vacation is a net positive that is now working in Alaska’s favor.
Surviving In The Competitive Environment
All of these factors make Alaska a major competitor on the West Coast. Delta Airlines is also offering a hub in Seattle, but not the same size as Alaska’s. In its case, Delta managed to market to clients its nonstop international access out of Seattle, something that Alaska could not do until now. That is a way of Alaska competing in Seattle and increasing its dominance at home.
Even when looking at the other hubs like San Francisco where United Airlines dominates, Alaska is also making a considerable push for available travelers. It is now focusing on some of the critical markets for leisure and business travelers out of San Francisco currently.
But, in other markets, Alaska also expects to begin pushing toward more scheduled depth to support convenient connections and the massive growth in customer numbers using the partnerships that the airline has.