Star Alliance accepts links with budget carriers

Alliance launches innovative connecting partner model
Star Alliance is launching a new model to expand network reach with low-cost airlines. Under the new concept, routes operated by “low-cost” and “hybrid” airlines will be able to connect to the alliance network.
The South African airline Mango will be the first budget airline to implement the idea. But although the partners will be “carefully assessed” for their fit into the existing Star Alliance network, they will not become members of the Star Alliance itself.
“With this innovative concept we are breaking new ground,” claimed Mark Schwab, Star Alliance chief executive. “We see a definite trend of convergence between the ‘traditional full service’ and ‘low-cost’ business models in the airline industry.
“At the same time, our customers are telling us that they need access to markets where we do not yet provide ideal coverage. In many cases network carriers are not in a position to fill this gap and hence working with future Connecting Partners will allow us to provide an extended network to our travellers.”
Customers travelling on an itinerary that includes a transfer between a Star Alliance member airline and a connecting partner will be offered alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in.
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