|Launch date||14 May 1997|
|Non-voting members||40 affiliates|
|Annual passengers (M)||641.1|
|Annual RPK (G)||1,364|
|Headquarters||Frankfurt am Main, Germany|
Mark Schwab, CEO |
Calin Rovinescu, Chairman
|Alliance slogan||The Way The Earth Connects|
Star Alliance is one of the world's largest global airline alliances. Founded on 14 May 1997, its current CEO is Mark Schwab and its headquarters is in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. As of 7 August 2016, Star Alliance is the second largest global alliance by passenger count with 641.1 million, after SkyTeam (665.4 million) and ahead of Oneworld (557.4 million). Its slogan is "The Way The Earth Connects".
Star Alliance's 27 member airlines operate a fleet of approximately 4,657 aircraft, serve more than 1,330 airports in 192 countries and carry 641.1 million passengers per year on more than 18,500 daily departures. The alliance has a two-tier rewards program, Silver and Gold, with incentives including priority boarding and upgrades. Like other airline alliances, Star Alliance airlines share airport terminals (known as co-location) and many member planes are painted in the alliance's livery.
1997–1999: First alliance
On 14 May 1997, an agreement was announced forming Star Alliance from five airlines on three continents: Scandinavian Airlines, Thai Airways International, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United Airlines. The alliance chose Young & Rubicam for advertising, with a budget of $25 million (€18 million). The airlines shared the star logo from the beginning, with its five points representing the founding airlines. The alliance adopted its first slogan, "The Airline Network for Earth", with its goal "an alliance that will take passengers to every major city on earth".
The now defunct Brazilian airline VARIG joined the Star Alliance network on 22 October 1997, extending the alliance into South America. Also joining were Ansett Australia and Air New Zealand, expanding Star Alliance to Australia and the Pacific. With the addition of the latter two carriers, the alliance served 720 destinations in 110 countries with a combined fleet of 1,650 aircraft. The next airline to join was All Nippon Airways (ANA), the group's second Asian airline, on 15 October 1999.
During the early 2000s, a number of airlines joined Star Alliance; the Austrian Airlines Group (Austrian Airlines, Tyrolean Airways and Lauda Air) joined on 26 March 2000 and Singapore Airlines on 1 April. BMI (British Midland) and Mexicana Airlines joined on 1 July, bringing the alliance's membership to 13. The addition of BMI made London Heathrow the only European hub with two alliances. During the year, Emirates considered joining Star Alliance, but decided against it. That year the now-defunct BWIA West Indies Airways, which had entered an alliance with United Airlines, considered becoming a member but did not. In 2000, the alliance also opened its first three business centers (in Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and Bangkok) and announced the formation of an Alliance Management Team (AMT), the partnership's executive body. In September 2001, Ansett Australia (the alliance's only Australian member) left Star Alliance due to bankruptcy, giving most of the Australian market to Qantas (a Oneworld member). That year, Star Alliance announced the appointment of a new CEO, Jaan Albrecht.
Asiana Airlines joined the alliance on 1 March 2003, Spanair on 1 May, and LOT Polish Airlines (Poland's flag carrier) in October. Around this time, Mexicana Airlines left the alliance after deciding not to renew a codeshare agreement with United Airlines, later joining Oneworld. US Airways joined the alliance in May 2003, becoming its second US-based airline. In November Adria Airways, Blue1 and Croatia Airlines joined the alliance as its first three regional members.
Although Star Alliance invited Lineas Aereas Azteca in 2005 to join in mid-2007, the airline filed for bankruptcy. TAP Portugal joined on 14 March 2005, adding African destinations to the network. In April 2006 Swiss International Air Lines, the alliance's sixth European airline, and South African Airways (its first African carrier) became the 17th and 18th members.
2007: Tenth anniversary
By May 2007, Star Alliance's 10th anniversary, its members had a combined 16,000 daily departures to 855 destinations in 155 countries and served 406 million passengers annually. The alliance introduced Biosphere Connections, a partnership with UNESCO, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the 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 worldwide air travellers use one of the three airline alliances.
2008–2010: Second decade of operations
On 1 April 2008, Turkish Airlines joined the alliance after a 15-month integration process beginning in December 2006, becoming its seventh European airline and 20th member. EgyptAir, Egypt's national airline and Star Alliance's second African carrier, joined on 11 July 2008.
On 27 October 2009, Continental Airlines became the 25th member of Star Alliance after leaving SkyTeam three days earlier. According to alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht, "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 rumored that the switch was Continental's first move in a planned United Airlines-Continental merge. Two months later, Brussels Airlines joined the alliance.
Shanghai Airlines left the alliance on 31 October 2010 when it merged with China Eastern Airlines, a SkyTeam member. On 29 September, the chief executive board approved Ethiopian Airlines as Star Alliance's 30th member. In 2010 the alliance flew to 1,172 airports in 181 countries, with about 21,200 daily departures.
2011-present: Further expansion
Since 2011, more airlines have joined, and others have left due to their collapse or restructuring. In August 2011, after several delays, Air India was rejected for membership when it did not meet alliance requirements. On 13 December 2011, Ethiopian Airlines joined, adding five countries and 24 destinations to the alliance's map.
Star Alliance had a tumultuous 2012, with Spanair leaving early in the year when the carrier ceased operations. In early March, Continental merged with United Airlines, ending its membership in the alliance. BMI left on 20 April after its acquisition by International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Oneworld members Iberia and British Airways. On 21 June, Avianca, TACA Airlines and Copa Airlines joined the alliance, increasing its Latin American presence. In November, Blue1 left the alliance, becoming an affiliate of parent Scandinavian Airlines. Shenzhen Airlines joined on 29 November, augmenting Air China's Chinese network.
On 8 March 2013, TAM Airlines announced its departure due to its merger with LAN Airlines to become LATAM Airlines Group. With the addition of EVA Air on 18 June and TACA's integration into Avianca, the alliance now had 28 members and was the largest of the three major airline alliances. On 13 December, Air India was again invited to begin an integration process with Star Alliance. On 31 March 2014, TAM Airlines moved to Oneworld, and US Airways and an American Airlines affiliate also left the alliance. That day, Avianca Brazil announced that it would join Star Alliance in 2014 as an affiliate of Avianca. After TAM Airlines and US Airways left, the alliance had 26 members. On 24 June, Air India was approved, joining the alliance on 11 July. Avianca Brazil then joined the alliance on 22 July 2015. Future Connecting Partners member Mango, South African Airways' low-cost subsidiary, will be joining in 3Q 2016. Other Connecting Partners candidates include Air India Express and Alliance Air (both subsidiaries of Air India) as well as Juneyao Airlines (which codeshares with Shenzhen Airlines). On 10 October 2016, Juneyao Airlines confirmed their joining into Star Alliance as Connecting Partners in 2Q 2017.
Member airlines and affiliates
Members and affiliates
A Founding member.
B Airlines operating under Air Canada Express, Air New Zealand Link, Cimber A/S, Lufthansa Regional, Tyrolean Airways and United Express 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 Air Canada Express flights are operated by Air Georgian, EVAS Air, Jazz Aviation, Sky Regional Airlines.
E Air India Regional flights are operated by Alliance Air.
F Air New Zealand Link flights are operated by Air Nelson, Eagle Airways and Mount Cook Airline.
G Lufthansa Regional flights are operated by Air Dolomiti, Eurowings and Lufthansa CityLine.
H United Express flights are operated by Cape Air, CommutAir, ExpressJet Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Republic Airlines, Shuttle America, SkyWest Airlines and Trans States Airlines.
I South African low-cost airline Mango will join the alliance as a Connecting Partner in the third quarter of 2016.
J SunExpress (owned by member airlines Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa) and SunExpress Deutschland (owned by SunExpress) is not part of Star Alliance
K Vanilla Air, Scoot and Tigerair are now part of Value Alliance.
L UNI Air is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eva Air, although it is not a part of Star Alliance.
M Kunming Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shenzhen Airlines, although it is not a part of Star Alliance.
Former members and affiliates
|Ansett Australia||3 May 1999||12 September 2001|| Aeropelican Air Services
|Left the alliance on 12 September 2001 after suffering financial collapse. Ansett resumed operations on 1 October 2001, but would permanently cease operations on 4 March 2002.|
|Blue1||3 November 2004||1 November 2012||N/A||Left the alliance on 1 November 2012 after SAS took over mainline operations, was a member affiliate of Scandinavian Airlines, and is now a part of CityJet.|
|British Midland International||1 July 2000||20 April 2012|| BMI Regional
|Left the alliance on 20 April 2012 as a result of its merger with International Airlines Group. IAG's subsidiaries Iberia and British Airways are Oneworld members; BMI merged with British Airways on 27 October 2012.|
|Continental Airlines||27 October 2009||3 March 2012|| Continental Connection
|Merged with United Airlines on 3 March 2012.|
|Mexicana||1 July 2000||31 March 2004||Aerocaribe||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. Mexicana would cease operations on 28 August 2010.|
|Shanghai Airlines||12 December 2007||31 October 2010||China United Airlines||Left the alliance on 31 October 2010 as a result of its merger with China Eastern Airlines, a SkyTeam member.|
|Spanair||1 May 2003||27 January 2012||AeBal||Collapsed on 27 January 2012.|
|TACA Airlines||21 June 2012||27 May 2013||TACA Regional||Merged with Avianca on 27 May 2013; renamed Avianca El Salvador.|
|TAM Airlines||13 May 2010||30 March 2014||TAM Paraguay||Left the alliance on 30 March 2014 as a result of its merger with LAN Airlines, a Oneworld member.|
|US Airways||4 May 2004||30 March 2014|| US Airways Express
US Airways Shuttle
|Left the alliance on 30 March 2014 as a result of its merger with American Airlines, a Oneworld member.|
|VARIG||22 October 1997||31 January 2007|| Nordeste
|Ceased operations on 20 July 2006.|
|Former affiliate||Joined||Left||Affiliate of||Notes|
|Air Canada Tango|| || ||Air Canada||Now part of Air Canada.|
|Air Nova|| || ||Air Canada||Now known as Air Canada Express, a subsidiary of Air Canada.|
|Air Next|| || ||All Nippon Airways||Now part of ANA Wings, a subsidiary of ANA.|
|Air Nippon|| || ||All Nippon Airways||Merged with ANA Wings.|
|Air Ontario|| || ||Air Canada||Branded as Air Canada Express, a subsidiary of Air Canada.|
|Blue1|| || ||
|Now part of Cityjet after ceasing operations.|
|Centralwings|| || ||LOT Polish Airlines||Now part of LOT Polish Airlines, ceased operations.|
|Cyprus Turkish Airlines|| || ||Turkish Airlines||Now part of Turkish Airlines after going bankrupt.|
|Korongo Airlines|| || ||Brussels Airlines||Now part of Brussels Airlines after not gaining enough traction.|
|Lauda Air|| || ||Austrian Airlines||Replaced by Austrian Airlines operations, now known as Austrian myHoliday.|
|Lufthansa Italia|| || ||Lufthansa||Now part of Lufthansa.|
|United Shuttle|| || ||United Airlines||Became part of United Airlines.|
|Swiss Private Aviation|| || ||Swiss International Air Lines||Absorbed into Swiss International Air Lines.|
|Tyrolean Airways|| || ||Austrian Airlines||Now part of Austrian Airlines.|
|ZIP|| || ||Air Canada||Absorbed into Air Canada.|
|TED|| || ||United Airlines||Became part of United Airlines.|
Future members and affiliates
No airline has confirmed to join Star Alliance yet.
|Juneyao Airlines||2017||9 Air|
Codeshare flights of Star Alliance airlines are consistent. This cooperation led to suspicions of anti-competitive behavior; the alliance was suspected by the European Union of being a virtual merger of its members, and speculation existed that if government regulations were relaxed the members would merge into one corporation.
Star Alliance developed a "regional" concept in 2004, which helped it penetrate markets with participation by smaller regional carriers. Regional Star Alliance members had to be sponsored by an alliance member. The alliance no longer designates airlines as "regional" members, now referring to its 27 airlines as "members".
In 2007, alliance members flew 18,521 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries with a fleet of 4,025 aircraft. Its members carried a total of 627.52 million passengers, with revenue of US$156.8 billion (€145 billion). It had 28 percent of the global market based on revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), greater than the combined market share of all airlines not in one of the three major alliances. All alliance carriers combined employed 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 at airports (under one roof)
Star Alliance has two premium levels (Silver and Gold), based on a customer's status in a member's frequent-flyer program. Member and regional airlines recognize Star Silver and Gold status, with a few exceptions mostly pertaining to airport lounge access. Membership is based on the frequent-flyer programs of the individual airlines. Many members have a premium status beyond Gold, which is not recognized across the alliance.
Star Alliance Silver
Star Alliance Silver status is given to customers who have reached a premium level of a member carrier's frequent-flyer program. Benefits are priority reservation wait-listing and airport stand-by. Some airlines also offer priority airport check-in, baggage handling and boarding; preferred seating; an additional checked-luggage allowance, and waived fees for two checked bags.
Star Alliance Gold
Star Alliance Gold status is given to customers who have reached a higher level of a member airline's frequent-flyer program. Benefits are priority reservations wait-listing, airport stand-by and check-in and baggage handling; an additional checked luggage allowance of 20 kg (or one extra piece, where the piece rule applies), and access to designated Star Alliance Gold lounges the day and place of departure with the presentation of a Star Alliance boarding pass. Some airlines also offer preferred seating (an exit seat or a special section of the plane); guaranteed seating on fully booked flights, subject to the booking class code and notice period, and free upgrades in the form of a voucher, certificate or automatic upgrade at check-in. United restricts 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 on all itineraries.
Qualifying tiers by airline
|Member airline||Mileage program|| Star Silver
| Star Gold |
LOT Polish Airlines
Swiss International Air Lines
|Miles & More||Frequent Traveller|| Senator |
|Air Canada||Aeroplan|| Prestige 25K
| Elite 50K|
Super Elite 100K
| Air China
|Phoenix Miles||Silver|| Gold |
|Air India||Flying Returns||Silver Edge Club|| Golden Edge Club |
The Maharajah Club
|Air New Zealand||Airpoints||Silver|| Gold |
|All Nippon Airways||ANA Mileage Club||Bronze|| Super Flyers |
|Asiana Airlines||Asiana Club||Gold|| Diamond |
|Avianca||LifeMiles||Silver|| Gold |
|Avianca Brazil||Programa Amigo||Silver|| Gold |
|Copa Airlines||ConnectMiles||Silver|| Gold |
|EgyptAir||EgyptAir Plus||Silver|| Gold |
|Ethiopian Airlines||Sheba Miles||Silver Club||Gold Club|
|EVA Air||Infinity MileageLands||Infinity MileageLands Silver|| Infinity MileageLands Gold |
Infinity MileageLands Diamond
|Scandinavian Airlines||EuroBonus||Silver|| Gold |
|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 & Smiles||Classic Plus|| Elite |
|United Airlines||MileagePlus||Premier Silver|| Premier Gold |
Livery and logo
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