WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2003—The Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance today unanimously approved the application of US Airways to join the world`s largest airline alliance. The addition of US Airways significantly expands Star Alliance`s network in the business hubs of the eastern United States and in the Caribbean.
“US Airways offers Star Alliance business and leisure passengers significant advantages,” said Jaan Albrecht, chief executive officer, Star Alliance. “For business travelers, the addition of US Airways means unparalleled access to the most extensive airline network in the eastern United States; for leisure travelers, the expanded network also means more destinations in the Caribbean and Florida from which to choose.”
The addition of US Airways will increase the number of airports served by the Star Alliance network from 700 to 771, while the number of countries served will grow to 133 from 128.
“Expanding the reach of our network through Star Alliance will create enormous benefits both for our customers and our business,” said David N. Siegel, US Airways president and chief executive officer. “To Star Alliance`s members and customers, US Airways brings value with our strong presence in the eastern United States, where 70 percent of all travel to Europe originates, as well as our growing presence in the Caribbean. Star Alliance customers entering the U.S. through our premier international gateway in Philadelphia will experience the nation`s most modern international terminal, which just opened this month.”
While no firm date has been set for US Airways` official entry into Star Alliance, it is anticipated that the carrier will become part of the world`s leading airline alliance within the next nine to 12 months.
US Airways, based in Arlington, Virginia, is the largest carrier in the eastern United States and the seventh largest in the country. Its operations are concentrated in its hubs in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
The airline has more than 3,300 daily departures to cities in the United States, Canada and Europe, and flies to more destinations in the Caribbean than any other U.S. airline.
US Airways has been working with Star Alliance member airlines since it signed a code-sharing agreement with United Airlines in 2002 and recently signed a similar memorandum of understanding on code-sharing with Lufthansa German Airlines.
Glenn Tilton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of United Airlines, which sponsored US Airways` application, warmly welcomed US Airways into Star Alliance. “The United States is the largest single air travel market in the world, and the addition of US Airways provides a complementary service to our passengers,” Tilton said. “Clearly anything that we can do to serve the growing needs of Star Alliance passengers in this country and around the world will benefit each of our member airlines.”
US Airways serves 195 airports in 25 countries with a fleet of 279 aircraft. The airline employs more than 28,000 people and carried 54 million passengers in 2002.
Star Alliance was established in May 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance. Member airlines are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, bmi, Lauda Air, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, Thai Airways International, Tyrolean Airways, United Airlines and VARIG Brazilian Airlines. LOT Polish Airlines will become a member in October 2003.
Reporters needing additional information should contact US Airways Corporate Communications at (703) 872-5100.