It is no surprise that you will come across various types of promotions for products and services by companies everywhere you go. This is also true these days with airline companies that form partnerships with other carriers in order to successfully promote their products and services to widespread passengers. This strategy is usually seen as a business approach, which is referred to as an “airline alliance” in the aviation industry.
In this blog, we will provide you an in-depth overview of what is an airline alliance. Also, we will take a quick look at how it functions and how travellers can benefit from it.
What is an Airline Alliance?
In air travel, an airline alliance is basically an agreement between two or more member airline carriers. This agreement allows partner airline carriers to cooperate in market branding, including promoting their products and services, earning and redeeming miles and sharing routes etc. through the so-called “codeshare” program.
For example, when you book a flight from one airline carrier, you might also notice that the itinerary is also operated by another airline carrier. Thus, this is how certain codeshare connecting flights that are in alliance with two or more airline carriers, may share routes to transport you from one city to another.
You can read more about codeshare flights on our blog.
Functions of Airline Alliance
Airline carriers that are cooperative members of an alliance work together by promoting and sharing their products and services to travellers in various ways. For example, an airline carrier can involve another partner airliner to operate connecting flights on the same itinerary. Thus, a passenger that has booked, say, a long-haul flight from New York City to Paris, he/she can continue their journey via another carrier’s connecting flight from a stopover airport, say, London, and en route to the final destination city i.e., Paris.
In addition, member airlines of an alliance group also work together by allowing passengers to easily earn and even redeem miles for each travel, permit access to airport lounges and also, offering the same booking systems.
Airline Alliances and their Members
At present, there are about six different airline alliances, each having several member airline carriers that participate, or work together, to serve many destinations throughout the world. So, let’s take a quick look at these given below.
(i) Star Alliance
(ii) SkyTeam Alliance
(iii) Oneworld Alliance
(iv) U-FLY Alliance
(v) Value Alliance
(vi) Vanilla Alliance
Star Alliance has the largest number of cooperative members, making a total of 26. The members of this alliance include Air Canada, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Copa Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines, to name a few. Also, the alliance’s connecting partners include Juneyao Airlines and Thai Smile.
Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines and Thai Airways International are the founding members of Star Alliance that was formed in the year 1997.
SkyTeam Alliance has a total of 19 cooperative members. The members of this alliance include Aeromexico, Air France, China Eastern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines, to name a few.
Oneworld Alliance has a total of 13 cooperative members. The members of this alliance include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines, to name a few. Also, the alliance’s connecting partners include Fiji Airways and Aer Lingus.
American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas are the founding members of Oneworld Alliance which was formed in the year 1999.
U-FLY alliance has a total of 8 cooperative members. The members of this alliance include HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air, West Air, Easter Jet and more.
HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air and West Air are the founding members of U-FLY Alliance that was formed in the year 2016.
Value Alliance has a total of 7 cooperative members. The members of this alliance include Cebu Pacific, Cebgo, Jeju Air, Nok Air and Scoot. These all are also the founding members of Value Alliance that was formed in the year 2016.
Vanilla Alliance has a total of 5 cooperative members. The members of this alliance include Air Austral, Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles and Int’Air Iles. These all are also the founding members of Vanilla Alliance that was formed in the year 2015.
How Travellers and Partner Airlines Benefit from Airline Alliance
Not only does an alliance benefit its participating airline carriers, but travellers too, can benefit from such business approach.
Airline alliances can benefit their cooperative airline carriers by expanding routes, so that airlines will have a larger network and can serve more destinations all over the world.
On the other hand, airline alliances can benefit travellers by offering options, like if an unprecedented event occurs. For instance, if you unintentionally missed your connecting flight on a certain airline of an alliance, then you will be permitted to board the next flight of the alliance’s partner carrier operating the same route. So, you can worry less, as you will arrive to your destination airport via the alliance’s partner flight that covers the same route network.
Today, we have plenty of airline carriers from across the globe that form alliances in order to provide better service and also, options to their customers, while growing their own businesses in return. Thus, airline alliance is a win-win both for airline carriers and travellers as well.