Air Berlin aircraft in oneworld livery. Courtesy, AB

Air Berlin (AB) became a member of the oneworld alliance (ATW Daily News, March 20)  in a Tuesday joining ceremony at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which will serve as AB’s home base and be Europe’s newest hub when it opens June 3 (ATW Daily News, Feb. 3). AB's Austrian partner, FlyNiki, became an affiliate member of the alliance.

AB, Germany’s second biggest passenger airline, has a 40% domestic market share. The carrier’s entry into oneworld more than triples the number of cities served by the alliance in Germany to 25. FlyNiki doubles its coverage of Austria to six airports. “Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant [achievements] for AB,” CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said.

International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh said during the joining ceremony that AB's entry, British Airways' acquisition of British Midland International (bmi) (ATW Daily News, March 14) and the launch of Iberia (IB) Express (ATW Daily News, March 1) will boost oneworld's presence in Europe.

“Maybe our alliance is not very well known in this part of Europe, [but] now we will change that,” American Airlines chairman and CEO Tom Horton added during the ceremony.

AB serves 162 destinations in 40 countries. It carried more than 35 million passengers in 2011. Oneworld now has 11 full members.