Varig forced to leave Star Alliance

Brazilian airline Varig, will be forced to leave the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, by the end of January, Star Alliance said Thursday on its Web site. Full statement:

Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense S.A. (VARIG Brazilian Airlines or “old” VARIG) will no longer be a member of Star Alliance as of 31 January 2007. This decision was prompted by the current restructuring of the airline in which “old” VARIG continued to be a Star Alliance member, operating a reduced flight schedule on behalf of a new company, VRG Linhas Aéreas S.A. (“New” VARIG).
With “new” VARIG now having been granted an official air operator’s certificate (CHETA - Certificado de Homologação de Empresa de Transporte Aéreo) by the Brazilian authorities, “old” VARIG will in future no longer fulfil the pre-requisites for Star Alliance membership.
“In order to deliver the Star Alliance benefits, products and services to customers around the globe on a consistent basis, our member carriers work to certain standards and processes. Unfortunately, “old” VARIG will no longer operate as a network airline and will therefore have to give up its membership in the alliance”, said Jaan Albrecht, Star Alliance CEO.
Star Alliance and its member carriers will ensure that the impact of this decision on international travellers will be kept to a minimum.
“Star Alliance continues to offer the most intercontinental flights serving more cities in Brazil than any other alliance and will continue to expand its services in this important and growing aviation market”, Jaan Albrecht added.

Star Alliance member carriers Air Canada, Lufthansa, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal and United together provide more than 270 weekly flights to Africa, Europe and North America from six destinations in Brazil. In parallel the alliance is exploring various options to secure a wider presence in the region.

Varig won South America’s Leading Airline at this year’s World Travel Awards.