Know your airline alliances

Sunday, 02 Jan, 2001 0

The world’s major airlines have been keen to forge links between each other, to aid ‘seamless travel’ and provide code sharing across the globe. Customer loyalty is now more likely to be to an alliance than a specific airline.

Oneworld Alliance consists of eight airlines:
Aer Lingus
American Airlines
British Airways
Cathay Pacific

The founder members British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines launched the alliance in February 1999, with Aer Lingus and LanChile joining on 1 June 2000. Also in that month, oneworld announced the establishment of a central management team in Vancouver, Canada, to co-ordinate the alliance. Oneworld travels to 559 destinations in 134 countries and has a combined fleet of 1,852 aircraft.

Star Alliance is the oldest and largest of the alliances. Established in May 1997, it is now made up of fifteen airlines:
Air Canada
Air New Zealand
ANA – All Nippon Airways
Ansett Australia
Austrian Airlines
British Midland
Lufthansa German Airlines
SAS – Scandinavian Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Thai Airways International
United Airlines
Varig Brazilian Airlines

Star Alliance travels to 815 destinations in ‘more than’ 130 countries. More recent members include ANA, Singapore Airlines, British Midland and Mexicana.

SkyTeam is the most recent alliance, with only four airlines:
Air France
Korean Air

It offers 451 destinations in 51 countries, which at first glance does not compare well with the other alliances’ coverage. There has been some criticism of this new kid on the block – how will it be able to compete with the other giants? Yet, on closer inspection, one realises that bringing together these four airlines was very strategic. Air France, operating out of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, may well be set to become Europe’s gateway airport. Korea is establishing Seoul’s Inchon Airport. With space at a premium in many of the world’s airports, both Charles de Gaulle and Inchon are unusual in having room to expand – Inchon may become an Asian hub. Delta’s Atlanta Airport apparently offers more connections than any other airport in the world and Aeromexico flies into Mexico City, Latin America’s leading airport. Forward thinking on the part of SkyTeam.

The Qualiflyer Group is a European partnership of twelve airlines:
AOM French Airlines
Air Europe
Air Littoral
Air Portugal
LOT Polish Airlines
PGA Portugalia Airlines
TAP Air Portugal
Turkish Airlines
Volare Airlines

The Group covers more than 330 destinations worldwide (with 200 destinations in Europe).

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