Two JAL Affiliates To Join oneworld Alliance

The oneworld alliance is growing bigger as it welcomes two Japan Airlines Group airlines from October 25th. Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System will join as oneworld affiliates, and all passengers flying them will be bestowed with oneworld benefits.

Japan Air Commuter
Japan Air Commuter is one airline that is joining as an oneworld affiliate. Photo: 湯小沅 via Flickr

Two JAL affiliates join oneworld

Japan Airlines, or JAL, joined the oneworld alliance in 2007. Since then, the airline has been an important part of the alliance and a close partner of many other oneworld airlines, including American Airlines. JAL is a majority shareholder in both Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System. Two other JAL affiliates, J-AIR and Japan Transocean Air, are already oneworld affiliates.

As affiliates, customers will have access to oneworld benefits on flights within Japan starting from October 25th. The affiliates will add four new destinations in Japan to the oneworld network, taking the overall oneworld network in Japan to more than 50 airports. The four new airports are Kikai (KKX), Okinoerabu (OKE), Tajima (TJH), and Yakushima (KUM).

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Japan Airlines 787
The two carriers are affiliates of Japan Airlines. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

CEO of oneworld, Rob Gurney, stated the following:

“We are pleased to expand the oneworld footprint in Japan alongside our valued partner Japan Airlines, through the addition of another two of their high-quality affiliates to the alliance. Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System will provide even greater connectivity in Japan to customers, growing our position in one of the key markets in Asia.”

International Relations and Alliances Executive Officer at Japan Airlines, Hideki Oshima, added,

“It is an honour for the JAL Group to further strengthen the alliance, providing more choices for our mutual customers. Our dedicated team of professionals will be ready to offer a safe and secure travel experience once international travel resumes on a global scale.”  

Japan Air Commuter

Japan Air Commuter is based in Kagoshima on the Kyushu island of Japan. Kyushu is the third largest of Japan’s five main islands after Honshu, where Tokyo is, and Hokkaido, to the north where one can find Sapporo.

JAC JAL
Japan Air Commuter has an all-ATR fleet. Photo: 湯小沅 via Flickr

Japan Air Commuter serves Kagoshima, Okinawa, and western cities in Japan. The airline operates a fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft and has been around since 1983.

Hokkaido Air System

Hokkaido Air System is based in Sapporo on Hokkaido, the second-largest Japanese island, and is to the north of Honshu.

Hokkaido Air System
Hokkaido Air System operates Saab and ATR aircraft. Photo: Japanbird via Wikimedia Commons

Hokkaido Air System operates a fleet of Saab 240Bs and ATR 42 aircraft. The airline serves the Hokkaido Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture on Honshu.

Growing the oneworld alliance

Affiliates are nothing new in the oneworld alliance. Cathay Pacific’s Cathay Dragon, Iberia’s Iberia Express, and British Airways’ Comair are just a few examples. Other examples include American Eagle in the US and QantasLink in Australia.

Affiliates generally add new destinations to the alliance’s route network and serve feeder flights to mainline operations. For example, Comair adds feed for oneworld airlines flying to and from South Africa while American Eagle helps connect passengers from smaller destinations in the United States to American and other oneworld partner flights.

When Alaska Airlines fully joins oneworld, its affiliate, Horizon Air, will also follow, expanding the alliance’s reach into destinations across the western United States and Alaska. Back in April, Royal Air Maroc officially became a member of the oneworld alliance.

Are you excited to see two new regional carriers join the oneworld alliance? Have you flown on either airline? Let us know in the comments!

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