AUSTRIAN AIRLINES WILL JOIN STAR ALLIANCE
Austrian Airlines Aviation Group, including Austrian Airlines, Tyrollean
Airways and Lauda Air, has announced it will leave the Qualiflyer alliance
of European airlines to join the global Star Alliance, anchored by United
Airlines and Lufthansa German Airlines.
The decision gives the Star Alliance a major win over rival alliances,
such as the new partnership forged between Air France and Delta Airlines.
It also leaves Swissair as the only major European airline not aligned with
one of the four emerging global alliances.
Qualiflyer, now anchored solely by Swissair, consists of regional
European airlines. SAirGroup, Swissair’s parent company, said that it will
look to sell its 10-percent ownership stake in Austrian Airlines and that
it is committed to remaining independent.
Pressure will mount on the Swiss carrier, though, as the four major
alliances expand. The Star Alliance includes United, Lufthansa, Air Canada,
Varig, and Thai Airways. Oneworld includes American Airlines, British
Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific and LanChile. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and
Alitalia are building an alliance with Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines. Air
France and Delta recently announced that
AeroMexico will join their grouping.