Star Alliance targets China in 2006


SYDNEY (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) - Star Alliance founder, Lufthansa, today outlined ambitious plans to extend its airline membership base in China with not one, but two airlines (Beijing-based Air China and Shanghai Airlines) expected to join in 2006.

Star has focused its alliance building on Europe in the past two years, adding Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, Blue1 and regional carriers, Adria and Croatia Airlines. South African Airlines and US Airways have also joined the alliance.

Chinese and Indian carriers still remain outside the alliance fold – but not for long. Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines is expected to join the SkyTeam Alliance this year. The oneworld alliance, represented in China through Cathay Pacific, is also seeking to expand its presence in China and talks have been held in the past with China Eastern Airlines.

Both the Chinese and Indian governments are keen to see their airlines join global airline clubs, which would provide better network connectivity and raise industry standards. The governments are also keen to attract investment. Lufthansa’s CEO, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, has indicated the airline would not rule out future airline acquisitions in China.

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