Saying he wants to get "beyond codeshares," the CEO of MIAT - Mongolian Airlines (OM, Ulaanbaatar) has told CNN that the airline wants to join the Oneworld connect program.

Munkhtamir Batbayar said the limited domestic market and small fleet size made partnerships and alliances the MIAT's best avenue for growth. The airline's key existing partner airlines are oneworld members JAL - Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific. It also has existing codeshare and marketing agreements with Korean Air and Turkish Airlines.

"We are actively pursuing to get into the oneworld connect program," Batbayar said. The connect program allows airlines to provide selected alliance benefits. Program airlines need a fully-fledged oneworld member to sponsor them. The single existing connect member, Fiji Airways, is sponsored by Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and American Airlines. Batbayar is counting on the support and sponsorship of his two existing oneworld partners but says how his strategy pans out largely depends on them.

"It depends on how they are going to do it," he said. "The difficulty for us, being a landlocked country and trying to expand our network with our limited resources, is that it would be much easier for us to have the widest number of partnerships with different airlines instead of just having a single preferred partner."

A Japan Airlines spokesperson declined to comment on MIAT Mongolian specifically, but told ch-aviation that "airline alliances have become even more important in providing network connectivity to airlines and their customers.”

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, MIAT flies to 20 destinations in seven countries, including Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Türkiye, and Japan. The carrier, Mongolia's only IATA member airline, operates nine aircraft, including one B737-8, three B737-800s, one B757-200(PCF), one B767-300ERs, and one just delivered B787-9. MIAT Mongolian also wet leases a Omni Air International B767-300ER and one CRJ200LR wet-leased from CemAir (5Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) for domestic routes.