Some 15 years ago today an event took place which would forever change the landscape of commercial aviation.
Five forward looking and like-minded chief executives took the bold decision to create the first ever multilateral airline alliance, the Star Alliance network.
Founding carriers Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, THAI and United all realised that with growing globalisation, the need for more international travel to a wider range of destinations would become increasingly important.
As no airline on its own would be able to achieve this, these five airlines established the Star Alliance network with the aim of becoming the “Leading global airline alliance for the high value international traveller”.
In 15 years the Alliance has grown from five airlines offering a combined total of 6,000 daily flights to 578 airports in 106 countries to a network of 25 airlines carrying more than 600 million passengers on 20,500 daily flights to 1,293 airports in 190 countries.
To paraphrase the chief executive of one of the member carriers: “If Star Alliance doesn’t fly there, you probably don’t want to go.”
This growth has been achieved by a combination of adding airlines to the Alliance and by providing customer benefits which on a global scale an airline cannot offer on its own.
Examples are through-checkin, mileage accrual and redemption, Star Alliance Gold and Silver benefits and Alliance wide fare products.