DALLAS – Talk about airline alliances! It’s almost 25 years for the world’s largest – the Star Alliance, founded by five airlines in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 14, 1997.
Over the years, this hot alliance network and membership have grown from five to twenty-six airline partners with over 50 global hubs.
All the airlines within the network benefit from their fellow partners’ networks as though it was their own. The similarity in terms of IT solutions and booking platforms, same baggage rules, and of course lounge access across the hub airports. The alliance has its main control in Frankfurt and a secondary control office in Singapore.
The Founding Five, and Who’s Part of It Now?
Five airlines from three continents United Airlines (UA), Scandinavian Airlines (SK), Thai Airways (TG), Air Canada (AC), and Lufthansa (LH) joined hands to map out the “star” with an initial budget of $25 million. What about a slogan? “The Airline Network for Earth” was chosen.
Within no time, Varig (RG) of Brazil along with Air New Zealand (NZ) and ANA (NH) joined the club and then on, the alliance has only grown and expanded its portfolio.
Today, the Star Alliance network reaches 98% of the world’s countries with 26 partner airlines.
19,000 daily departures, a joint fleet of 5033 aircraft to 1300 destinations in 195 countries, big numbers indeed. Skyteam follows as the second-largest airline alliance with 19 active member airlines and 15,445 daily flights to 1,036 destinations in 170 countries. Oneworld comes in at third with 14 active airline members that operate to 900 destinations in 170 territories.
Lufthansa on Star Alliance Turning 25
Of course, the alliance is a big deal for Lufthansa since both are based out of Frankfurt (FRA). It might seem like the workhorse of star alliance although it is, LH’s CEO clearly states how important the partner airlines play a role in the overall picture.
“We would never be as big as we are if we didn’t have the Star Alliance feed and de-feed. In order to fill a jumbo from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, it has to be “fed” with guests from up to 50 smaller departure airports”.
Carsten Spohr is still convinced of the advantages of the “Star Alliance” aviation alliance. “From the customer’s point of view, no airline in the world can provide this global coverage,” says the head of Lufthansa, which has been a key partner of the alliance together with the US company United for 25 years.
But we’re in 2022, and the environment in today’s airline industry is much different than 25 years ago. Do airline alliances like Star Alliance have a future? The rise in joint ventures and code-sharing agreements is putting the alliance network on the shelves.
Featured image: Star Alliance founding five | Photo: Star Alliance Twitter