Oneworld offers new round-the-world fare


Airline alliance Oneworld’s round-the-world Explorer fare is back, but with a catch – all travel must take place solely within the southern hemisphere.

The new version of the fare comes following the recent introduction of Latam Airlines’ new Sao Paolo-Johannesburg service. Prior to the launch of the route, no Oneworld members operated flights providing a southern-hemisphere connection across the Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, the South Africa to Australasia leg of the route is covered by Qantas’ existing Johannesburg-Sydney service. Both Latam and Qantas connect Sydney with Santiago, with an optional stop in New Zealand.

The new three-continent round-the-world Explorer ticket is available for sale from select southern-hemisphere countries, notably Australia, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand. Flights within each continent are also included, with travel able to take place in an eastwards or westwards direction.

Pricing is based upon the number of continents visited as opposed to distance flown. Fares for the new Explorer ticket start from the following:

  • Starting in Australia and the South West Pacific: AU$3,299 (US$2,448.8) economy; AU$10,499 (US$7,793.3) business.
  • Starting in South Africa: ZAR 21,560 (US$1,530.1) economy; ZAR 80,460 (US$5,710.3) business.
  • Starting in South America, excluding Brazil: US$3,200 economy; US$8,600 business.
  • Starting in Brazil: US$3,300 economy, US$8,100 business.

Eastar Jet joins U-Fly Alliance

U-Fly Eastar

South Korean low-cost carrier Eastar Jet has become the fifth member of the U-Fly Alliance, alongside HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air and West Air.

It is the first non-Chinese airline to join the group, and the first not affiliated with Chinese conglomerate HNA Group.

Launched in 2009, Eastar Jet is an independent South Korean LCC – not owned by a parent company – a fact that its chief executive Jung Shik Kim believes is a significant advantage over airlines such as Air Busan (Asiana Group) and Jin Air (Korean Air).

“We do not have any other businesses aside from Eastar Jet, which means that we are able to focus entirely on delivering the best low-cost fares and quality standards to our customers,” said Kim.

The LCC is primarily based in Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport, which none of the other member airlines currently serve. Eastar’s entry into U-Fly therefore expands the alliance’s reach in South Korea, including destinations such as Cheongju and Gunsan.

Kim noted slot constraints was a big factor for Eastar joining U-Fly, as it highlighted the need to join forces with like-minded partners in order to grow  operations – a sentiment shared by U-Fly’s chief executive Andrew Cowen.

“We’ve got an ever-growing demand for new destinations across our customer base and the majority of our passengers are between the ages of 20 to 35 [that value low fares],” said Cowen to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific.

“As you might expect, that demographic likes to travel so this has encouraged us to come together as the U-Fly Alliance. We can grow our networks and customer offerings faster than we can grow our [individual] airlines.”

As previously reported, U-Fly member Lucky Air is seeking approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to launch flights to Moscow and Los Angeles by year’s end.

However, Cowen noted the possibility of long-haul routes from other members was still some way off.

“We’re very happy that Lucky Air is a member of the alliance but you have to realise that it is the largest LCC amongst the group. So it’s natural for them to start thinking about how they might expand their markets further by going into long haul,” said Cowen.

“For the other members, long-haul LCC services is a potential opportunity but it is a very big step. You would only consider taking that step when you reach a certain size and have the full capability to execute it.”

Steven Greenway – U Fly’s deputy chief executive who has also been involved with Value Alliance (the second low-cost alliance to emerge) also believes this is just the beginning of LCC alliances.

“There’s really only two LCC alliances and they exist in this part of the world,” said Greenway. “I think it’s early days, but as an emerging trend, there’s a huge amount of opportunity that can lead to destination growth as well as cost savings.

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Clement Huang