The national carrier Swiss has announced that it is to join Lufthansa’s Star Alliance group of airlines within the next 12 months.This content was published on June 2, 2005 - 10:09
As an independent airline, Swiss tried in vain to be accepted into a global alliance. After it announced in March that it was being taken over by Germany’s Lufthansa, entry into Star Alliance had been expected.
The announcement comes exactly one year after the loss-making Swiss pulled out of negotiations to join the rival British Airways-led Oneworld group. Talks with Oneworld stumbled over the integration of frequent-flyer programmes.
In a statement on Thursday, Swiss said the chief executive board of Star Alliance had voted unanimously to accept the carrier’s application for membership. Swiss will be integrated into the group along with South African Airways.
This step marks the beginning of the process of Swiss formally joining the 16-member alliance.
The airline said it intended to fulfil all the entry requirements – including harmonising IT interfaces, training staff and marketing – within the next year.
"Joining Star Alliance represents a milestone for our company and its customers," said Christoph Franz, Swiss chief executive officer.
"As a quality airline with a worldwide reputation, Swiss is the preferred carrier of a large number of high-value international travellers. And as a Star Alliance member, we will be even better equipped to meet their specific air travel needs."
Swiss said customers of all member airlines stood to benefit. Once Swiss and South African Airways were integrated into the group Star Alliance would offer travellers a worldwide network of 846 destinations in 151 countries.
"In accepting Swiss's application for membership, we will in future be able to offer more choice to our customers, especially in Europe and on key international routes to North and South America, Africa and Asia," said Mineo Yamamoto, president and CEO of Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways, on behalf of Star Alliance.
Swiss said that parallel to the process of meeting Star Alliance’s entry requirements, the airline would also "vigorously pursue" its integration into the Lufthansa Group.
Joining Star Alliance was one of the integration projects in which the focus was on benefits to customers. The airline said the first such benefits should become apparent once the Swiss competition authorities had given their approval to the deal.
Star Alliance was established in 1997. The Lufthansa-led alliance includes Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.
Swiss was created in 2002 as a successor to the collapsed national airline Swissair. After three years of independence, during which it struggled to break even, it was absorbed into Lufthansa in March.
swissinfo with agencies
Founded in 1997 and with a market share of 24%, Star Alliance is considered the leading civil aviation alliance.
It is made up of 16 airlines and transports 360 million passengers a year to almost 800 destinations.
Swiss and South African Airways will join the alliance in the next 12 months.
The number of destinations serviced will increase to 846.
The members of Star Alliance are: Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA (Japan), Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi (Britain), LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways International, United, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.End of insertion
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