Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam: who's signing up in 2014?
Each of the big three airline alliances – Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam – will welcome new members into their extended families this year.
That means more choice for business travellers in terms of connections, lounges and ways to earn and burn frequent flyer points. So who's made the list for 2014?
The Oneworld alliance will gain three valuable new members early this year, giving Qantas an additional three partners for codeshare flights.
Brazil's TAM Airlines and US Airways – which recently merged with existing Oneworld member American Airlines – will both sign on the dotted line on March 31st, with both leaving the competing Star Alliance in the process.
Although American Airlines already boasts plenty of well-established stateside routes, US Airways will improve connections to and along the US east coast due to its hubs at Washington's city-centre National airport (DCA), Philadelphia and at Charlotte in North Carolina.
TAM Airlines will join Chilean sibling LAN and LAN Colombia as Oneworld's South American members.
Although only LAN flies into Australia, and then with just one daily service between Sydney and Santiago which stops over in Auckland, travellers to Brazil will appreciate tapping into TAM's domestic and international network.
That will be especially appealing if you trade in your points for a jaunt on TAM's Boeing 777 first class: it's a "living room in the sky" suite, with everything from a wide couch and personal closet to a Nespresso machine!
Photos: TAM's slick new Boeing 777 first class
SriLankan Airlines will join Oneworld shortly after TAM and US Airways sign up, adding a relatively small but strategically important partner to the alliance.
Sitting just off the coast of southern India the airline's Colombo hub should prove a useful location for oneworld, which had previously hoped to sign up now-defunct Indian airline Kingfisher to serve the subcontinent.
The airline won't just be useful for Australians heading to India for work, however – frequent flyers with points to burn will find that SriLankan is one of the best ways to get yourself to the relaxing resorts of Maldives.
SkyTeam will bring only one new member on this year, with Garuda Indonesia to join on March 5th.
This will be the seventh SkyTeam airline in Australian skies alongside China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.
“Garuda Indonesia’s domestic and growing international network will give SkyTeam a footprint in Indonesia as we strengthen our presence in the Southeast Asia region” says SkyTeam managing director Michael Wisbrun.
Garuda's entry into SkyTeam is part of the Indonesian flag-carrier’s continued push into the premium travel market.
The airline's long-range Boeing 777-300ER jets offer new first class suites (shown above) plus fully lie-flat business class seats and will feature on the new Sydney-Jakarta-London route beginning May 28th.
For Star Alliance 2014 is pretty much all about Air India, which could officially join as early as June this year.
This will be Air India's second shot at joining Star Alliance after the airline's previous application to join the Star family was suspended in July 2011.
"We still have some work to do but I don’t see any barriers," says Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab.
"Without giving a specific date, one can say that we will complete all the ground work and formalities of Air India’s entry into the Star Alliance club by this summer" Schwab told journalists at a recent press briefing in Mumbai. "After that, they will be ready to join straight away."
Schwab has also hinted that another Indian carrier could soon join the Star Alliance family as the coalition scrambles for a large piece of the growing Indian air travel market.
Also on the calendar for the second quarter of 2014 is Avianca Brazil, a sibling of current Star member and Colombian flag-carrier Avianca.
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Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam: who's signing up in 2014?
19 Sep 2012
Total posts 12
Hmm, do you mean LAN Colombia, it's not a clothing store - columbia! Then there's also other South American oneworld affiliates; LAN Peru, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador.
04 Nov 2010
Total posts 672
A bit of a 'mixed bag' in Australia for this. Air India? Well let's see how that turns out, I am not holding my breath. I think Garuda joining SkyTeam is going to be a bigger deal for us, and when SkyTeam opens their Sydney lounge that will be an extra bonus!
14 Jun 2013
Total posts 354
Yes, it's just a shame that SkyTeam is the smallest of the alliances. I would rather see Star Alliance sign up an Australian partner. I am sure that Virgin Australia will join them before too long.
22 Jul 2011
Total posts 19
It is inaccurate to say that Skyteam is the smallest of the alliance trio. On metrics such as member numbers, countries and destinations covered, fleet size and passenger numbers, oneworld is by far the smallest of the trio.
07 Oct 2012
Total posts 1249
In reference to Australia (exc Domestic as that is obvious), Skyteam is the smallest. In terms of quality, Star & Oneworld are clearly ahead of Skyteam.
I'm interested to see market share of alliances once US/TAM join Oneworld.
22 Jul 2011
Total posts 19
The article didn't say the comment was with reference to Australia only. Although I see that the sloppy journalism has now been cleaned up.
18 Nov 2011
Total posts 33
One world is the smallest alliance as Skytam comes second after Star Alliance.
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
22 Aug 2013
Total posts 172
VA in *A would be great but not banking on it to happen. Cross fingers though...
20 Feb 2012
Total posts 125
while OW is the smallest in terms of size
it has the greatest % of corporate/high wealth customers
while Skyteam has the greatest% of cheap lower end customers