New Alliance Group Members

THE STAR Alliance has announced that Ethiopian Airlines will be the next carrier to become a member of the grouping following approval by its Chief Executive Board.  The operation should be complete within the next 12 months.  SAS already code-shares with Ethiopian on the Stockholm-Addis Ababa route and has done since earlier this year, but the partnership has now been expanded to include a number of Ethiopian’s African destinations, such as Ambouli (Djibouti), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Entebbe (Uganda), Mombasa (Kenya), Nairobi (Kenya), and Zanzibar (Tanzania).
“On behalf of Star Alliance’s Chief Executive Board, it gives me great pleasure to invite Ethiopian Airlines to join the Star Alliance network,” said Jaan Albrecht, CEO, Star Alliance.  “Ethiopian’s extensive intra-African network will provide more choice for our travellers and bring the Star Alliance benefits to new markets.  Moreover, we will in future have three main hubs – Addis Ababa, Cairo and Johannesburg – allowing for an ideal access to the continent from either the North, Centre-East or South.”
Ethiopian will become the third Star member carrier on the African Continent, joining EgyptAir and South African Airways.  SAS will also commence code-share agreement with EgyptAir on the new Cairo-Copenhagen route, which launched on October 1.
“We are happy and honoured to be invited to the big family of airlines,” said Girma Wake, CEO, Ethiopian Airlines.  “We will definitely enhance Star’s global network.  Our long experience in the Africa market, coupled with our strategic hub at Addis Ababa, and the recently created Lomé hub, will allow Star Alliance members to access many new markets in Africa.”
Ethiopian Airlines will add five new countries (Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Mali, and Niger) and 24 new African destinations to the Star Alliance network, which will then encompass a total of 29 carriers, offering a choice of more than 21,380 daily flights to 1,196 destinations in 186 countries.
China Airlines, the flag carrier of Taiwan, has formally announced the start of its joining process leading to full entry into the SkyTeam Airline Alliance.  The process is expected to be completed by mid-2011.  The announcement comes just a few months after China Eastern signed an agreement to join SkyTeam.  During an official ceremony in Taipei, China Airlines’ President Huang-Hsiang Sun, joined the CEOs and representatives of SkyTeam member airlines in signing an Adherence Agreement, thus formally starting the joining process.  “The inclusion of China Airlines in our network will solidify SkyTeam’s unrivalled presence in the Greater China market, a region that continues to experience significant economic growth,” said Leo van Wijk, Chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board.  “In addition to the services provided by our existing members, China Airlines offers an extensive cross-strait operation, linking Taiwan to multiple major destinations in China.  China Airlines will bring four new destinations to the network; Okinawa, Miyazaki, Surabaya and Palau.
Meanwhile, flag carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas, is expected to “officially begin the process of joining the airline alliance SkyTeam in November and would become its first South American member,” according to an Alliance statement.  The statement added that it “is actively working to strengthen its presence in Latin America, a region with strong growth figures and a positive outlook for the future.”
The carrier hopes to become a full member in 2012, by which time it is expected to return to profitability – according to its President Mariano Recalde.  In the past, “buying a ticket and hoping for a flight on time was like buying a lottery ticket,” he said earlier this year.
A SkyTeam statement added: “Through a five-year restructuring plan introduced last year, Aerolíneas Argentinas is implementing a number of measures to strengthen its business model and establish itself as a major player in Latin America.”