Star Alliance spruiks "Australia's largest alliance footprint"

By David Flynn, March 1 2016
Star Alliance spruiks

It's been 15 years since Star Alliance counted an Aussie airline among its members, following the collapse of Ansett in 2001, but the global airline family still champions its leadership position in Australian skies.

"December's launch of daily Sydney-Haneda flights by ANA means we now have 11 members airlines flying into Australia" says Tim Clyde-Smith, Chair of the local Star Alliance Country Steering Committee, "which makes us the largest alliance represented in Australia."

Each of those 11 airlines puts its own hub within a single flight for Australian business travellers, "and so with ANA relaunching here we now have access to have a hub in Japan" Smith adds.

"Combined with other hubs such as Beijing through Air China and Seoul with Asiana and we believe we've got Asia wrapped up in terms of coverage."

Local Star Alliance members are also ramping up their activities in 2016, starting this month with United upgrading its Sydney flights to a Boeing 787, while Air Canada will launch a daily Boeing 787 service between Brisbane and Vancouver from June.

"With United flying out of Sydney and Melbourne, and Air Canada out of Sydney and Brisbane, we have direct flights from Australia's east coast to two hubs on the west coast of North America" Smith explains.

Hola, South America

Air New Zealand's direct flights from Auckland to Buenos Aires which kicked off in December 2015 have also filled something of a southern hemisphere gap for Star Alliance, Smith says, feeding Australians and Kiwis into South America, which is where member airline Avianca takes over "and opens up South America enormously", which can in turn boost the score for round-the-world trips.

See: How to plan and book a Star Alliance round-the-world trip

Thai Airways also plans to bring its new Airbus A350 onto the Melbourne-Bangkok route from July, and of course Singapore Airlines will begin direct flights between Canberra and Singapore (as well as a trans-Tasman leg between Canberra and the NZ capital Wellington) from September 20, with an initial schedule of four flights per week on a Boeing 777.

Read: Singapore Airlines to launch Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flights

Not-so-local heroes

On top of the 11 Star Alliance airlines flying out of Australia, Smith cites Lufthansa, Swiss and SAS as popular choices for flights to Europe from their Asian ports of Singapore and Hong Kong.

Singapore Airlines will chase an even greater share of the Australian market this year through a joint venture with Lufthansa and Swiss, which is intended to offer more flexible flight times and better connections on key European routes.

Star Alliances helps play match-maker when it comes to inter-alliance partnerships and co-operative agreements "to make sure you can get to your destination fastest using Star Alliance connections" by cutting down on transit time as well as making best use of facilities such as Gold Track express lanes and shared airport lounges.

Also read: Free Heathrow Express first class upgrade for Star Alliance Gold members

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

13 Aug 2015

Total posts 40

David, any indication on when details will be available on the Singapore Airlines / Lufthansa Group JV, and specifically details which are relevant for Australian travellers? If schedules are changing this calendar year, you'd expect it to be not far off..

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555


24 Mar 2015

Total posts 17

Hi David

"Star's Australian members are also ramping up their activities in 2016, starting this month with United upgrading its Sydney flights to a Boeing 787, while Air Canada will launch a daily Boeing 787 service between Brisbane and Vancouver from June."

Did you mean to say "Star's American members"?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 357

I think it meant among the 11 Star Alliance Members in Australia. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

Did you mean to say "Star's American members"?

Nope, members in Australia (but agree, could have been worded better).


Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 105

Air China will fly direct from Chengdu to Sydney this year.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

16 May 2011

Total posts 113

And also Melbourne-Shenzhen which will make use of Shenzhen Airlines' hub for connections to Mainland China in addition to existing PVG and PEK services.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 971

Virgin should become a member, hopefully, maybe one day. 

Perhaps that's possible. VA seems like its being courted by Star Alliance (through NZ and SQ, although SQ has historically not been that well integrated into Star), Etihad Airways Partners (through Etihad) and SkyTeam (through Delta).

Yet at the same time it seems that the old alliances are weakening and crumbling substantially. We see airlines codesharing with airlines outside their nominal alliance all the time these days. Emirates isn't OneWorld yet they're QF's most important partner.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 132

I had an e-mail from Lufthansa saying that they're partnering with CX now too. One World, Star and Sky Team must get a bit miffed at these hand-shakes. Great for the customer though. 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Sep 2014

Total posts 17

So... Smith said 2 hubs in North America... Did he forget SFO?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 77

"Thai Airways also plans to bring its new Airbus A350 onto the Melbourne-Bangkok route from July"

Any idea when they'll be replacing their clapped-out 747s on the Sydney-Bangkok route? Before they acquired their first A380 they announced they'd be using one on the Sydney-Bangkok route, but that announcement soon lapsed. Their J Class product on the 747s is well past its sell-by date. Brisbane and Perth have got a Dreamliner service, Melbourne will be getting the A350 - any hope for Australia's largest city?

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