It's neither unusual nor unexpected to hear Emirates questioning the need for global airline alliances such as Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam... but when the chief of British Airways' parent IAG says they're on the way out, that's one from left field.
BA, alongside Qantas and Cathay Pacific, was a founding member of Oneworld almost 20 years ago.
However, IAG chief executive officer Willie Walsh reckons Oneworld won't be around to blow out the candles on its 30th birthday cake.
Speaking overnight at London's World Travel Market expo, Walsh said that “alliances add value today but I would question whether they will continue that in the future. There was a need and there still is a role for them to play but I would be surprised and question whether they will exist in 10 years from now."
Instead, the future will be paved with bespoke arrangements between individual airlines.
"I think relationships have changed and you are seeing more deals such as joint ventures," Walsh added.
Emirates' president Tim Clark, speaking at the same travel conference, opined that alliances may well survive "but take a different format."
“They are a tad anachronistic and we are moving into a B2C age now where technology runs nearly everything and how that figures in the alliance structure is questionable."
What's your take: are today's airlines alliances as useful to you, as a business traveller and frequent flyer, as joint ventures or bespoke partnerships?