Change is nothing new in the airline world. Both 2015 and 2016 were big years in terms of high-profile mergers in the travel industry. Some recent buzz may be revealing that 2017 is set to keep that trend going. The reality is that legacy airlines really need to be sharp about competing with the many budget airlines that are starting to dominate the market.

In fact, offering stripped-down fares or merging with the competition may be the best ways for some major airlines to stay ahead of the game. This is why the rumors circulating about Oneworld bringing some discount airlines into its family of 14 affiliates shouldn't come as a big surprise. Granting membership to smaller airlines may be the only way for Oneworld to get a foothold in emerging markets around the globe. This could be good news for you if you regularly travel to places throughout China, India and parts of Africa.

Why Discount Carriers Are Important For Oneworld

The Oneworld alliance already includes big names like British Airways, American Airlines, Berlin Airlines, Japan Airlines, Finnair and Qatar Airways. What the alliance seems to be missing is a budget superstar in the world of airlines. This is why the addition of a discount airline could be a huge victory for Oneworld.

The move toward adding a discount airline to its prestigious lineup is likely part of Oneworld's strategy for filling in current gaps in emerging markets. Low-cost operators may be vital in helping the alliance to attract more business in the ever-growing travel pockets of Africa, India and China. Many frequent international travelers have already expressed their frustrations with the lack of options provided by Oneworld in these parts of the world.

Oneworld's only offering in all of Africa is a limited affiliate called Comair. Oneworld lacks partners entirely in both China and India. New partnerships could help to tighten Oneworld's grip on global travel among customers looking for budget-friendly options in these markets.

What Will The Addition Of A Budget Airline To The Oneworld Alliance Mean For Travelers?

Travelers could benefit greatly if a budget airline does join the Oneworld alliance soon. This would mark the first time a discount airline would be able to participate in interline and code-share relationships with what can be considered mainstream or high-end carriers.

While the no-frills options offered by discount airlines are attractive, many travelers don't feel comfortable with making the leap to a discount carrier. A partnership with the Oneworld alliance can create a certain amount of peace of mind for passengers who value a consistent, high-quality experience.

There is no doubt that Oneworld would take steps to ensure high standards on every discount flight because the stakes are very high when it comes to doing damage to its existing carriers.

The Future Of Oneworld

Oneworld is ready to show the world that it is embracing emerging markets. The alliance has a bit of a way to go if it wants to keep up with the competition. The alliance currently has just 14 members. On the other hand, both Star Alliance and SkyTeam have over 20 members.

The one thing that's for certain is that Oneworld could help to cover some extremely important gaps in the market if it is able to acquire and nurture an up-and-coming budget airline in the next few years. Why is what's happening with Oneworld important for all travelers? The deals that are made in the next few years could drastically impact the landscape of the travel industry.

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