Oneworld, the global airline group featuring airlines including American, British Airways, JAL, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific, is moving from Vancouver to New York next summer. The new headquarters will be in the low-rent district of Manhattan, on 2 Park Avenue.
Former US Airways marketing chief Bruce Ashby will take succeed John McCulloch as chief executive of the group. The Pittsburgh Gazette labels Ashby "a protege of former Chairman Stephen Wolf and former CEO Rakesh Gangwal," which isn’t the most comforting news for Oneworld flyers and anyone who remembers Wolf and Gangwal’s troubled tenures at US Airways.
Surprisingly, Oneworld has only 25 full-time employees but will be sharing the 46,200 foot office with American, BA, and Iberia.
Not a mention of LAN or LATAM in the press release, but I have to imagine that the shakeup at Oneworld might have something to do with that. The alliance choice of LATAM is critical for Star Alliance and Oneworld, though arguably more for Oneworld. While Star has already lined up Avianca and TACA to join Star Alliance, Oneworld would be left with a critical gap in Latin and South America if LAN left Oneworld to join Star Alliance, especially with the demise of Mexicana. With SkyTeam scooping up the remaining airlines in South America like Aerolinas Argentinas, SkyTeam is left with few choices: Brazil’s GOL said it would join Oneworld but later backed out.
Ashby’s got a lot on his plate and his chief task must be to work hard to woo LATAM into Oneworld. But I’m still rooting for Star Alliance…