The oneworld airline alliance, led by CEO Rob Gurney, has announced that it is going to run its own airport lounges, beginning with a lounge at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. This happens to be the home base of S7 Airlines, one of the alliance members, and the airport also serves British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian.
Oneworld airline members have shared lounges for years. Some of the best include American Airlines’ lounges at Los Angeles, and Qantas’ at Sydney. But this is new for the alliance to run its own lounge, and sceptical heavily-frequent flyers will worry that the lounges will be working to the tone of the lowest common denominator among member airlines (not all Iberia’s lounges are, well, stylish).
Interestingly, individual airlines have had hotels in the past. Most famously, Pan Am started the InterContinental hotel chain when it purchased the Grande Hotel in Belem, Brazil, in 1946. More recently, Sabena had hotels throughout west Africa. The HNA hotels portfolio was spawned by Hainan Airways in southern China.
It all depends now how ambitious Rob Gurney, a British who became CEO of oneworld in March 2016, is. We will see.