International Airlines Group, the holding company that owns British Airways, Iberia, and budget carrier Vueling SA, appears set to acquire Aer Lingus following a public expression of support for the deal from the Irish government, which owns 25.1 percent of the airline’s stock. The purchase has significant implications for U.S. travelers, especially customers of American Airlines.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO, has confirmed plans to have Aer Lingus rejoin oneworld, the global alliance co-anchored by American and British Airways. (Aer Lingus was a oneworld partner until 2007, when the carrier terminated the relationship to pursue a go-it-alone strategy as a discount carrier.)
The oneworld connection would automatically make Aer Lingus a member of American’s AAdvantage program, allowing members to earn and redeem miles for Aer Lingus flights to Europe and beyond points.The new redemption opportunities would be particularly welcome as an alternative to Transatlantic award flights on British Airways, which imposes onerously high fuel surcharges.
Aer Lingus currently has marketing relationships with JetBlue and United. There’s no word yet on whether those tie-ups would be extended or not.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.