|Launch date||14 May 1997|
|Non-voting members||27 affiliates|
|Annual passengers (M)||678.5|
|Annual RPK (G)||990.24|
|Management||Mark Schwab (CEO), Calin Rovinescu|
|Alliance slogan||The Way The Earth Connects|
|Headquarters||Frankfurt am Main, Germany|
Star Alliance is the world's first and largest global airline alliance, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Founded in 1997, its name and emblem represent the five founding airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United Airlines. Star Alliance has since grown considerably and now has 28 member airlines with more than 21,100 daily departures combined. These flights reach 1,329 airports in 194 countries, with an annual passenger number of 678.5 million.
The CEO of the alliance is Mark Schwab, replacing former CEO Jaan Albrecht who was named the winner of the Tony Jannus Award for distinguished leadership in the field of commercial aviation in 2010.
1997–1999: The first three years
On 14 May 1997, five airlines from three continents – United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Thai Airways International and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) came together to launch Star Alliance. The newly established alliance selected Young & Rubicam Advertising to increase awareness of the new alliance, with a budget of $25 million, (€18 million). The five airlines shared the traditional star logo from the beginning with the five points representing the five founding airlines. The alliance also adopted their first slogan "The Airline Network for Earth", with the goal being to have "an alliance that will take passengers to every major city on earth".
In March 1999, Ansett Australia and Air New Zealand both became members of the alliance, connecting the alliance to Australia and the Pacific. Upon the joining of the two carriers, Star Alliance served 720 destinations in 110 countries with a combined fleet of 1,650 aircraft.
Toward the end of 1999, The Austrian Airlines Group decided to apply for membership in the Star Alliance network, planning to become a full member in the new millennium. Finally, in October 1999, All Nippon Airways joined the alliance and became the group's second Asian airline.
2000: New millennium and major expansion
The new millennium started off with the significant admission of The Austrian Airlines Group (Austrian Airlines, Tyrolean Airways and Lauda Air) in March. Singapore Airlines joined the next month as a full member on 1 April giving the alliance an even stronger foothold in the Asian market. On 1 July BMI (British Midland) and Mexicana Airlines simultaneously joined Star Alliance, bringing the total membership tally up to 13. The joining of BMI made London Heathrow the only European hub with two competing alliances. During the year, Emirates considered joining Star Alliance, but would later opt not to join. The same year, now defunct BWIA West Indies Airways who had entered an alliance with United Airlines considered becoming a member. BWIA however never joined the alliance. In 2000 the alliance also opened its first three business centers in Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and Bangkok as well as announcing the completion of its full-time Alliance Management Team (AMT) – the executive body of the partnership.
In 2001, Ansett Australia left the alliance due to bankruptcy which subsequently handed over a majority of the Australian market to Qantas, a rival Oneworld Alliance member. During this year Star Alliance also announced the appointment of their new CEO, Jaan Albrecht.
2003 saw the admission of three new airlines to the alliance. Asiana Airlines joined on 1 March, LOT Polish Airlines, the official flag carrier of Poland, joined in October, and Spanair, Spain's low cost carrier, joined on 1 May.
In 2004 Croatia Airlines, Blue1, and Adria Airways inaugurated the alliance's regional network. US Airways joined the alliance after a one-year joining process which started in June 2003 becoming the alliance's second US-based airline. Mexicana Airlines left Star Alliance after deciding not to renew a codeshare deal with United Airlines and later joined Oneworld.
In 2005, Star Alliance invited Lineas Aereas Azteca to join the alliance in mid-2007. Star Alliance saw the admission of TAP Portugal on 14 May, thereby adding new African destinations to Star Alliance's network. After merging with US Airways under the US Airways name, America West Airlines joined, working through US Airways original membership, but would never be considered an individual member.
In 2006 South African Airways became the first African airline to become a Star Alliance member, as well as raising the alliance's membership tally up to 18. On 1 April, at a ceremony in Zurich, Swiss International Air Lines joined the alliance as the 19th member. SWISS' predecessor, Swissair was due to join the alliance in 2001, but the airline went bankrupt in October of that year.
In May 2007, Star Alliance and its members celebrated the alliance's 10th anniversary. During the previous decade, Star Alliance had grown from a membership of five airlines to include 17 carriers around the world. Each day the Star Alliance's members have a combined daily departure of 16,000 to 855 destinations in 155 countries, serving 406 million passengers annually. As part of the celebration and to increase awareness of the alliance, Star Alliance launched a global consumer promotion. Prizes included round-the-world air tickets, the paying of related expenses, as well as monetary prizes. On the same day Star Alliance also launched the Biosphere Connections, a partnership with three international organisations – UNESCO, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Ramsar Convention On Wetlands – to promote environmental sustainability.
|“||Today, nearly 30% of global air travellers use the services of our member carriers or, looking at it from an overall industry perspective, two thirds of world-wide air travellers use one of the three airline alliances.||”|
—Jaan Albrecht, CEO Star Alliance
Other significant events which took place included the ejection of VARIG from the alliance on 31 January. In addition to this, two major Chinese airlines, Air China and Shanghai Airlines, joined on 12 December.
2008–2010: Expansion and 2nd decade of operations
On 1 April 2008, Turkish Airlines joined the alliance after an 18-month integration process since December 2006, becoming the seventh European airline in the alliance, which had thus reached a total of 20 members. EgyptAir, the official airline of Egypt, joined on 11 July 2008, becoming the second African airline. The airline joined following its 75th anniversary the previous year, an event which EgyptAir used to subsequently relaunch its image and brand.
On 27 October 2009, Continental Airlines became the 25th full member of the alliance after leaving SkyTeam on 24 October. At a joining ceremony in New York City, Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance, said, "Bringing Continental Airlines into Star Alliance has been a truly unique experience. This is the first time an airline has moved directly from one alliance to another and I would like to thank all those involved in ensuring a smooth switch". At the time, it was rumoured that the switch was part of Continental's initial move in its plan of a United-Continental merge. Brussels Airlines (on 9 December) also become a member.
On 13 May 2010, leading Brazilian carrier TAM Airlines was admitted following a joining ceremony in São Paulo, thereby furthering the alliance's foothold in South America, which is currently considered by SkyTeam as an important market. Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest airline in terms of passengers carried, joined on 30 June. Fellow Greek airline Olympic Air originally intended to also join the alliance if their merger with Aegean Airlines was approved by the EU, but in February 2011 the merger proposal was rejected and Olympic Air had longer slated to join until October 2012 when Aegean Airlines bought Olympic Air.
Shanghai Airlines left the alliance on 31 October 2010, due to its merger with China Eastern Airlines, a future member of Star Alliance's rival SkyTeam. On 29 September, the Chief Executive Board approved Ethiopian Airlines's application for membership, with the airline to become the 30th member.
As of September 2010, Star Alliance flies to 1,172 airports in 181 countries, with approximately 21,200 daily departures.
Expansion during 2011 and beyond
After further delays, Air India failed to meet the unanimous consensus of member airlines and instead paved way for the entry of Jet Airways to the alliance. In 2010, Colombian Avianca & Salvadorian TACA Airlines were invited into Star Alliance. During the same year, former SkyTeam affiliate member Copa Airlines is also expected to be admitted.
On 6 July 2011, Shenzhen Airlines was formally accepted as future member. Joining in late 2012 the airline will be the alliance's second member in the People's Republic of China following the departure of Shanghai Airlines in 2010.
With its entry on 13 December 2011 Ethiopian Airlines adds to Star Alliance's network five new countries and 24 unserved destinations. In the beginning of January 2012 Continental Airlines formally left the alliance after finalizing its merger with United Airlines. Shortly after this on 27 January 2012, longtime member Spanair left the alliance after suffering financial collapse and ceasing operations. Soon after, bmi also left on 20 April 2012 due to acquisition by International Airlines Group (IAG), a parent company of British Airways, a Oneworld member. Together these consecutive exits brought the total number of member airlines down to 25.
On 29 March 2012, it was announced that EVA Air would join Star Alliance in 2013
On 21 June 2012 Avianca, TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines have officially joined Star Alliance becoming the alliance's 26th, 27th and 28th members.
On 22 October 2012 Star Alliance member Aegean Airlines bought Olympic Air from Marfin Investment Group. Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines will run as separate brands but Olympic Air is expected to join Star Alliance in the fall of 2013. Approval from the European Commission of the acquisition is pending.
On 29 November 2012 Shenzhen Airlines officially joined Star Alliance becoming the 29th member and strengthening the alliance's network in China.
On 8 March 2013 TAM Airlines announced that they would be leaving Star Alliance and moving to Oneworld. That happened after the merger with LAN Chile, a Oneworld member. The move is due for late 2013-early 2014.
On 18 June 2013, EVA Air, along with its affiliate Uni Air, became full members of Star Alliance.
Full members and their member and non-member affiliates
A Founding member.
B Airlines operating under the Air Canada Express, Air New Zealand Link, Austrian Arrows, Lufthansa Regional, TACA Regional, United Express and US Airways Express brands are not necessarily members of Star Alliance. However, flights are operated on behalf of the respective member airlines, carry their designator code and are Star Alliance flights.
C Members of Lufthansa Regional that are fully owned by Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
D Jointly owned by Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.
E Wholly owned By US Airways Group.
F Listed as separate airlines, but considered one member by the alliance.
G To exit the alliance by 2014, will join Oneworld with LAN Airlines considering as their alliance choice.
H Currently in the process of merging with American Airlines, a Oneworld member. To cease operations under its own name once the merger is completed. Combined airline is to take the "American Airlines" name and brand.
Former member airlines and their member affiliates
|Former member airline||Joined||Exited||Affiliates|
|| Aeropelican Air Services
|British Midland International[C]||
|| bmi regional
|| Continental Connection operated by:
→ Cape Air
→ Colgan Air
→ Gulfstream International Airlines
Continental Express operated by:
→ Chautauqua Airlines
→ ExpressJet Airlines
||China United Airlines|
TACA Regional[B] operated by:
→ La Costeña
→ Sansa Airlines
A Collapsed on 12 September 2001.
B Left the alliance on 1 November 2012 after SAS took over mainline operations, now a member affiliate of Scandinavian Airlines.
C Left the alliance on 20 April 2012 as a result of its merger with International Airlines Group. IAG's subsidiaries British Airways and Iberia are Oneworld members, bmi merged into British Airways on 27 October 2012.
D Merged with United Airlines on 3 March 2012.
E Left the alliance in 2004 after deciding not to renew a codeshare alliance with United Airlines, opting instead to codeshare with American Airlines, and joined Oneworld on 10 November 2009.
F Left the alliance on 31 October 2010 as a result of its merger with China Eastern Airlines, a SkyTeam member.
G Collapsed on 27 January 2012.
H Suspended its alliance membership on 31 January 2007 due to major restructuring, being involuntarily ejected, and failing to meet minimum qualifications.
I Merged with Avianca on 28 May 2013.
|Former member affiliate||Joined||Exited||Member affiliate of|
|Air Canada Tango[B]||
|AeBal (operating as Spanair Link)||
Future member airlines
At the annual board meeting on 11 December 2008 in Chicago former Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht revealed that the alliance is targeting up to 50 members. New management strategies, such as regional and global leaderships are being examined in order to handle a significantly larger alliance.
|Future member airline||Joining||Member affiliates||Non-member affiliates|
Codeshare flights between these airlines are, for the most part, seamless. This tight cooperation led to suspicions of anti-competitive behaviour, and the alliance was investigated by the European Union as a virtual merger of its members. Indeed, some speculated that if government regulations were relaxed, the members would merge into a single corporation, although no evidence has yet materialized. Prior to Star Alliance, Northwest Airlines and KLM were operating together as the forerunners of the modern airline alliance system since 1993, although there had been even earlier pairings and groupings of airlines for decades on a less formal level. The creation of Star Alliance was a milestone in airline history because of its size. It sparked the formation of rivals, notably SkyTeam and Oneworld.
The alliance developed the "Regional" concept in 2004, which helped Star Alliance penetrate individual markets with the regional participation of smaller carriers. Regional Star Alliance members had to be sponsored by an existing full Star Alliance member. However, Star Alliance has stopped designating airlines as "Regional" members and now refers to all the 25 airlines as just "members".
Star Alliance members now fly over 21,200 daily flights to 1,172 airports in 181 countries with a fleet of 4,025 aircraft. Its members carried a total of 627.52 million passengers with a turnover of US$156.8 billion, €145 billion. The alliance's market share is 28% of the global market based on revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), which is greater than the combined market share of all airlines that are not in any of the three major alliances. All Star Alliance carriers combined employ over 405,000 pilots, flight attendants, and other staff. Star Alliance was voted best airline alliance in the Skytrax 2007 World Airline Awards.
Co-location (move under one roof)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
|Atlanta||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport||ATL||Concourse D|
|Barcelona||Barcelona International Airport||BCN||Terminal 1|
|Beijing||Beijing Capital International Airport||PEK||Terminal 3|
|Cairo||Cairo International Airport||CAI||Terminal 3|
|Chicago||O'Hare International Airport||ORD||Terminals 1, 2 & 5|
|Cleveland||Cleveland Hopkins International Airport||CLE||Concourse C|
|Dallas||Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport||DFW||Terminal D & E|
|Delhi||Indira Gandhi International Airport||DEL||Terminal 3|
|Denver||Denver International Airport||DEN||Concourse B|
|Detroit||Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport||DTW||North Terminal|
|Dubai||Dubai International Airport||DXB||Terminal 1|
|Edmonton||Edmonton International Airport||YEG||South Terminal|
|Frankfurt||Frankfurt International Airport||FRA||Terminal 1 "Star Alliance Terminal"|
|Hamburg||Hamburg Airport||HAM||Terminal 2||
|Helsinki||Helsinki Airport||HEL||Terminal 1||
|London||London Heathrow Airport||LHR||Terminal 1 & 3||
|Mexico City||Mexico City International Airport||MEX||Terminal 1||
|Miami||Miami International Airport||MIA||Concourse J|
|Munich||Munich Airport||MUC||Terminal 2|
|Paris||Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport||CDG||Terminal 1|
|Rio de Janeiro||Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport||GIG||Terminal 2|
|San Diego||San Diego International Airport||SAN||Terminal 2||
|San Francisco||San Francisco International Airport||SFO||Terminal 1
– US Airways
– United Airlines
International Terminal (Boarding Area G)
|Seoul||Incheon International Airport||ICN||Concourse A (West Wing)|
|Shanghai||Shanghai Pudong International Airport||PVG||Terminal 2|
|Stockholm||Stockholm-Arlanda Airport||ARN||Terminal 5|
|Taipei||Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport||TPE||Terminal 2||
|Tokyo||Haneda Airport||HND||International Terminal||
|Tokyo||Narita International Airport||NRT||Terminal 1 – South Wing|
|Toronto||Toronto Pearson International Airport||YYZ||Terminal 1|
|Vienna||Vienna International Airport||VIE||Austrian Star Alliance Terminal (Check-in 3)|
|Warsaw||Frederic Chopin Airport||WAW||Terminal 2|
Star Alliance has two premium levels, Silver and Gold, based on a customer's tier status in a member carrier's frequent flyer program. Each of the member and regional airlines recognizes Star Silver/Gold status, with a few exceptions (mainly pertaining to airport lounge access). The statuses have no specific requirements of their own; membership is based solely on the frequent flyer programs of individual member airlines. Many member airlines also have an additional premium status beyond Gold which is not recognised across Star Alliance.
Star Alliance Silver
Star Alliance Silver status is awarded to customers who have reached a premium level of a member carrier's frequent flyer program.
Benefits of Star Alliance Silver membership:
- Priority reservations waitlisting
- Priority airport stand-by
Some airlines also offer the following to Silver members:
- Priority boarding
- Priority airport check-in
- Priority baggage handling
- Preferred seating
- Additional checked luggage allowance
- Waived fees for 1st and 2nd checked bags
- Airport lounge access
Star Alliance Gold
Star Alliance Gold status is awarded to customers who have reached a high level of a member airline's frequent flyer program.
Benefits of Star Alliance Gold membership:
- Priority reservations waitlisting
- Priority airport stand-by
- Priority boarding
- Priority airport check-in
- Priority baggage handling
- Additional checked luggage allowance of 20 kg (or one extra piece where the piece concept applies)
- Airport lounge access to designated Star Alliance Gold lounges on the day and at the place of departure, on presentation of a valid Star Alliance boarding pass.
Some airlines also offer the following to Gold members:
- Preferred seating (exit seat, or even on a special section on the plane on some carriers, which provides more leg room)
- Guaranteed seating on fully booked flights (subject to the booking class code and notice period)
- Free upgrade (in the form of voucher/certificate or automatic upgrade upon check-in)
- United and US Airways restrict US lounge access for their Gold Members to long-haul international passengers; Gold members from other carriers are welcome in US Lounges run by United and US Airways on all itineraries. Unlike in Oneworld and Skyteam, United and US Airways Star Gold members are admitted to the lounges of foreign alliance carriers (such as Lufthansa's Senator lounges at US airports) even if traveling domestically.
Qualifying tiers by airline
|Member airline||Mileage program||Star Silver
LOT Polish Airlines
Swiss International Air Lines
|Miles & More||Frequent Traveller||Senator
|Miles & Bonus||Blue||Gold|
|Air Canada||Aeroplan||Prestige 25K
Super Elite 100K
|Air New Zealand||Airpoints||Silver||Gold
|All Nippon Airways||ANA Mileage Club||Bronze||Super Flyers
|Asiana Airlines||Asiana Club||Gold||Diamond
|MileagePlus||Premier Silver||Premier Gold
|Ethiopian Airlines||Sheba Miles||Silver Club||Gold Club|
|EVA Air||Infinity MileageLands||Infinity MileageLands Silver||Infinity MileageLands Gold
Infinity MileageLands Diamond
|Singapore Airlines||KrisFlyer||Elite Silver||Elite Gold
Solitaire PPS Club
|South African Airways||Voyager||Silver||Gold
|TAP Portugal||Victoria||Silver Winner||Gold Winner|
|Thai Airways International||Royal Orchid Plus||Silver||Gold, Platinum|
|Turkish Airlines||Miles and Smiles||Classic Plus||Elite
|US Airways||Dividend Miles||Silver Preferred||Gold Preferred
Livery and logo
Some Star Alliance members paint some of their planes with the Star Alliance livery, usually featuring a white fuselage with "Star Alliance" signature written across and a black tailfin with the Star Alliance logo while the color or design of the engine cowlings or winglets remains depending on the members livery. Singapore Airlines is the only exception, formerly opting to paint the tails of the aircraft with the airline's logo; and now applying the Star Alliance logo sans the black tailfin painting, leaving it white. Asiana Airlines was the first Star Alliance member to paint their aircraft in the current Star Alliance livery. Aircraft painted in the airlines' own livery have the Star Alliance logo painted behind the cockpit. The Star Alliance logo has a diameter of approximately 70 cm (28 in). Currently, 80 aircraft are painted in Star Alliance livery.
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