Alaska Airlines seems to be on the fast track to joining the Oneworld alliance. We've known since February that Alaska had its eye on joining Oneworld. That's when Alaska's leadership first announced that the airline was an 'obvious choice' for membership due to its strong relationships with a number of Oneworld airlines.
However, we now have confirmation from CEO Brad Tilden that Alaska may be on an accelerated path to Oneworld membership due to COVID-19. Tilden revealed in a recent meeting that he recognizes the desire among customers to fly with airlines that have strong alliances that make it easier to travel in a post-COVID landscape.
When exactly can we expect to see Alaska Airlines added under the Oneworld banner? Tilden is forthcoming about the fact that he hopes to see a formal invitation presented very soon. He speculates that one may be coming as early as this month. The optimistic CEO anticipates that Alaska may be able to complete all steps necessary to obtain full Oneworld membership by the end of 2020.
It has been revealed that the timetable in place before COVID-19 would have seen Alaska joining the alliance at some point in 2021. However, a need among airlines to strengthen strategic partnerships in an effort to serve customers better during an unprecedented era in air travel seems to have added a sense of urgency for both Alaska Airlines and Oneworld. Notably, membership in Oneworld will put Alaska Airlines in a better position to partner with American Airlines to boost service on the West Coast.