Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Star Alliance wings intensify battle for African Skies

Star Alliance has upped the battle for African skies by enlisting Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopian now becomes the third African airline after South African Airways and Egypt Air to join the alliance that boasts of 29 global carriers.
"With Ethiopian Airlines now part of the Star Alliance network, we offer our customers the widest choice of flights connecting to, from and within Africa," said Jaan Albrecht, the outgoing Star Alliance CEO.
Through its Star Alliance membership, the airline now offers customers the benefits of being a member of a global airline alliance with a world-wide reach via the extensive network, seamless travel and status recognition through the frequent flyer programmes.
"This new partnership will bring enormous choices and flexibility to our customers such as daily departures to more than 1,000 destinations and free use of lounges at a number of airports around the globe," said Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian CEO.
The partnership will delivery more passengers to Ethiopian travelling to African destinations ferried by Star Alliance carriers.
"We now anticipate to grow passenger numbers more than the current 40 per cent annual growth," GebreMariam said.
The Star network was established in 1997 to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to travellers. The network offers more than 21,000 daily fights to 1,290 airports in 189 countries.
It is a common trend for airlines to team up in alliances to counter the cut-throat competition in the industry.
Other global alliances include Oneworld and Skyteam. National carrier Kenya Airways is a member of Skyteam, which comprises airlines such as Delta, China Eastern, KLM and Air France.
Following the Star Alliance partnership, Ethiopian Sheba Miles participants can now earn miles when flying on any Star Alliance Member carrier, with the collected miles counting towards achieving ShebaMiles Silver Club or Gold Club status.
The carrier will extend the Alliance Silver and Gold benefits to customers from other Star Alliance member carriers when they fly the airline.