Star Alliance to expand network with low-cost airlines

By David Flynn, December 10 2015
Star Alliance to expand network with low-cost airlines

Star Alliance will add low-cost and 'hybrid' airlines to its network, with South African carrier Mango first to sign up under a new 'Connecting Partner Model'.

The new plan will see routes operated by second-tier airlines used to grow the Star Alliance network's reach beyond its 28 core members.

"We see a definite trend of convergence between the traditional full service and low-cost business models in the airline industry" said Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab.

"At the same time, our customers are telling us that they need access to markets where we do not yet provide ideal coverage," Schwab admitted, adding that "Africa is one of the markets which we are focussed on growing."

"In many cases network carriers are not in a position to fill this gap and hence working with future Connecting Partners will allow us to provide an extended network to our travellers."

Future partners are likely to be drawn from within the ranks of current Star Alliance membership where offshoot low-cost airlines serve routes which their parents do not, such as Singapore Airlines' Scoot, Lufthansa's EuroWings and Air Canada's Jazz.

"Many of our members have transitioned parts of their operation onto these platforms, so initially we will concentrate our efforts onto these 'friends of the family'," Schwab said.

Frequent flyer benefits

While Star Alliance Gold members travelling on a Connecting Partner airline will enjoy "a tailored set of privileges" in line with the partner's own offerings, Schwab says those airlines will not be members of Star Alliance per se.

"For example, elements of the Star Alliance proposition that already part of the Mango product offering will be available to our Gold customers."

There will also be an opportunity to earn frequent flyer points in your chosen Star Alliance airline scheme on Connecting Partner airlines, provided you are connecting from or to a Star Alliance flight.

Mango is expected to be threaded into the Star Alliance network in the third quarter of 2016.

The writer travelled to Chicago as a guest of Star Alliance

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 45

Interesting...  makes sense re: needing to connect to/from a Star Alliance flight to receive aligned benefits.

Re: the potential future partners, David: do you mean Air Canada Rouge?  I think Jazz is their regional affiliate...

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 71

I think both Rogue and Jazz are already part of the alliance as both of them only use the AC designator, unless AC wanted to spin off one of them in the future. 

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Heard a while back JetBlue and Norwegian were looking into an airline alliance would be nice for either as JetBlue partners with most of star anyway and Norwegian could partner with SAS.

Well I can hope anyway.

NZ Elite

03 Jul 2014

Total posts 110

Hopefully this will lead to Azul joining Star Alliance.

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 21

Scoot and Silkair to be Connecting Partners please

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 588

silk air should be made a full member

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

Well… Star Alliance is full of “low cost” airlines with just few exceptions. Most of the members in this alliance claim to be regular airlines, but at the end they are just low cost airlines thru all the flights… Based on my experience those airlines with very bad on board and ground services are: UA, SK, AC rouge, CA, LO, ET, ZH, A3, MS, AI and OU. Those who are going “down the hill” with their service is TK, AC, AV and TG… after that I could say that SQ, LH, NZ, NH and LX. I’m not sure about all other airlines because I haven’t flown recently. But you could feel how cheap in customer service they are on 11 of them and not so good with 4 for them.

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