DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Aer Lingus announced today that it had concluded alliance agreements with both American Airlines and British Airways which will lead to a range of new benefits for existing and new Aer Lingus customers. Among the elements included in the cooperative agreements are frequent flier program reciprocity, lounge access interchange and codesharing across a range of flights. Aer Lingus Group Chief Executive, Gary Cullen, said the finalization of agreements with both airlines were a fundamental strategic development for Aer Lingus. "We are delighted to form partnerships with two great global airlines, American Airlines and British Airways. Our aim is to work with both carriers to provide our growing number of customers with a wider network of services, increased value and extra benefits," he said. "We are pleased to welcome Aer Lingus to the AAadvantage frequent flier program and we look forward to launching the other elements of our alliance as soon as possible," said Don Carty, American's Chairman and Chief Executive. "This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing our customers with the best frequent flier program in the world, the most extensive route network and outstanding value." Bob Ayling, British Airways' Chief Executive, said: "British Airways is very pleased to be building on our long-standing and successful relationship with Aer Lingus to the benefit of the customers of both companies. Our two airlines have a great deal in common with strategies built on providing quality services." In outlining the principal areas of partnership within the agreements, Mr. Cullen highlighted the key benefits which Aer Lingus customers would gain from the cooperation. The codeshare agreements will increase the range of flight options to Aer Lingus customers by offering more destinations and frequencies. Codesharing enables the next best level of service after direct services and avoids the need to change airlines, simplifying ticketing and baggage handling. These agreements will also mean a significantly increased distribution network for Aer Lingus services globally and an enhanced profile for Ireland in markets abroad, in particular in the US and other overseas markets. Members of the Aer Lingus' Gold Circle Club and TAB programs will benefit by earning points for travel on the services of American Airlines and British Airways and will be able to redeem points for free travel on services operated worldwide by these airlines. Effective April 2000, British Airways will codeshare on all Aer Lingus flights between Ireland and the UK. In addition, the code-share will extend to a range of British Airways destinations between London and Continental Europe destinations including Scandinavia, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. American Airlines will codeshare on Aer Lingus' transatlantic services between the US and Dublin/Shannon from summer 2000. Implementation of these codeshare agreements and alliance agreements will be subject to the necessary regulatory approvals.
SOURCE Aer Lingus