Air Canada Welcomes Austrian Airlines Aviation Group`s Decision To Join Star Alliance

Air Canada welcomed the announcement by Austrian Airlines of its intention to join Star Alliance, a global partnership of the world`s leading airlines. After carefully studying all available options, the management of the Austrian Airlines Aviation group, which includes Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airways in addition to Austrian Airlines, concluded that joining Star Alliance will provide the best long-term benefits for customers of the three airlines.

“Austrian Airlines is well known for its operational excellence and quality of service,” said Ross MacCormack, Air Canada`s Vice President, Alliances, and head of Network Development on the Star Alliance Management Board. “Austrian will contribute a comprehensive route network, professional and dedicated employees and its strategic Vienna hub. Our customers will benefit from unparalleled access to Central and Eastern Europe in an expanded Star Alliance.”

As with other members of Star Alliance, Air Canada will work together with Austrian Airlines to ensure timely preparation for membership, beginning with the creation of a bilateral agreement.

Star Alliance was established in May, 1997. It brings together some of the world`s leading airlines in a partnership designed to provide customers the benefits of global reach and seamless travel. The current members of Star Alliance are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Ansett Australia, Lufthansa German Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System - SAS, Thai Airways International, United Airlines and Varig Brazilian Airlines. Japan`s All Nippon Airways (ANA) is to join the alliance next month, while Mexicana has announced its intention to become a member next summer.

With the addition of the Austrian Airlines Aviation group, Star Alliance will count a total fleet of almost 2000 aircraft, serving 800 destinations in more than 112 countries worldwide and transporting more than a quarter of a billion passengers annually.