Swiss International Air to join Star Alliance in next 12 months
BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT
12 June, 2005: Swiss International Air Lines AG, which is currently being acquired by Germany's Deutsche Lufthansa, is to join the Star Alliance with in the next 12 months, pursuant to acceptance of its application by the latter's board. After the induction of Swiss Air, Star Alliance network will consist of a total 18 airlines.
The Chief Executive Board of the Star Alliance of airlines voted unanimously to accept Swiss International Air application for membership at the alliance's conference in Nagoya, Japan.
"Joining Star Alliance represents a milestone for our company Swiss International Air and its customers. As a quality airline with a worldwide reputation, Swiss International Air is the preferred airline of a large number of high-value international travellers. And as a Star Alliance member, we will be even better equipped to meet their specific air travel needs," Swiss International Air President and Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz said.
Upon the integration of Swiss International Air and South African Airways, another new applicant, the Star Alliance network across the world would consist of 846 destinations in 151 countries.
Swiss International Air intends to fulfill the requirements for membership in the Star Alliance within the next twelve months. The process involves adapting IT interfaces, training staff, marketing and adapting documentation.
The other airline members are Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways International, United, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.
Swiss International Air is currently in the early stages of integration with Lufthansa AG. The carrier has announced a total income from operating activities of CHF 853 million in the first three months of 2005, as against CHF 846 million recorded in the first quarter of 2004.
Star Alliance was established in 1997 and its members include Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, TAP Portugal and Thai Airways International among others.
According to Swiss Area Manager Middle East, Pakistan and Iran Felix Rodel, “The establishment of daily flights to Muscat, Oman and an additional flight to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia have only strengthened our performance on the intercontinental network.”
Swiss had posted a strong improvement on its regional seat load factors for the first quarter of 2005. Swiss daily route of Zurich-Dubai-Muscat saw a strong 90 per cent seat load, while the three times weekly Zurich-Jeddah-Riyadh route saw gains to achieve a 70 per cent seat load.