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Finnair is the wildcard here. While not as big as BA, it's moves to become the preferred European carrier to Asia -- especially growing business centers in China -- may end up being the key to its long-term success.

Oneworld partners Japan Airlines, British Airways, and Finnair have announced that they will begin a joint business arrangement, starting April 1, 2014, for flights to and from Japan and Europe.

The three airlines will extend their alliance coverage of these routes into a joint business. As Finnair explains: “The three airlines will share revenue and cooperate on scheduling and pricing between Japan and Europe, providing customers with more flexible routing options and an attractive range of fares.”

This new arrangement is an extension of a previous business arrangement already in place between British Airways and Japan Airlines since 2012, but Japanese regulators only gave approval for the airlines to add Finnair in October 2013.

This joint business allows customers of the three airlines to “mix and match flights” from the three carriers, in order to select the most favorable schedules. The three carriers will group their various routes into one complete network under this model, extending the range of destinations their customers can book through them.

Passengers will be able to check-in online with their preferred carrier, even when flying with one of the other partners. The group also indicates that customers will receive “integrated customers support” and “greater connectivity on all three airlines in case of disruption.”

Says Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo: “Since the authorities gave the green light for us to enter this joint business, we have worked very hard with our new partners to establish a well-functioning cooperation. Together, the three of us will constitute the single largest player in Europe-Japan traffic, offering an extremely competitive customer proposition in this vital market.”

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Tags: british airways, finnair, japan airlines

Photo credit: A Finnair airplane. Mark Harkin / Flickr

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