Ethiopian Airlines is set to become a member of the Star Alliance as of tomorrow (29-Sep-2010) (allafrica.com, 27-Sep-2010). Over the past couple of years, the airline had indicated its interest to join the network but only applied for membership early this year. The announcement would make Ethiopian Airlines the third African airline to join Star Alliance, joining South African Airways and Egyptair. Ethiopian Airlines already has a codeshare agreement with around a third of the 28 member airlines of the network. After the announcement on 29-Sep-2010, it is expected to take up to one-and-a-half years for full integration with the alliance to be completed.
Ethiopian Airlines to become future member of Star Alliance
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Mauritius Pt 2: Air Mauritius faces intensifying competition and challenges in developing a new hub
Air Mauritius has returned to profitability and is keen to pursue expansion in support of an ambitious hub strategy by its government shareholder. The airline turned an EUR18 million operating profit in the year ending Mar-2016 as passenger numbers grew by 9.4% - representing the fastest growth in five years.
Mauritius is geographically well positioned to attract sixth freedom traffic between Africa and Asia, a fast-growing market. However, competition is intensifying in the Africa-Asia market and in Mauritius, which could make it difficult for Air Mauritius to succeed at developing a new east-west hub while maintaining its new-found profitability.
This is the second part of an analysis report on Air Mauritius and the Mauritius market. The first report looked at Air Mauritius' expansion in Asia, and the need to bolster its network in continental Africa in order to secure more sixth freedom traffic between Asia and Africa. It also examined the impact of AirAsia X’s Oct-2016 launch of services to Mauritius. In this half of the report CAPA will look in more detail at the intensifying competition in the Mauritius market; how this may impact Air Mauritius’ new-found profitability and its ability to further develop an Africa-Asia hub.
Lufthansa and Etihad bedfellows - at last - but unions may make marriage a distant prospect
There can be no understating the symbolic change in mindset of Lufthansa agreeing to partner with Etihad. Lufthansa has spent the better part of a decade rallying against Gulf airlines to the press, lobbying in Europe's power corridors and seeking a range of aeropolitical measures to wind back new competitors. Etihad has been the prime target for its investment and ongoing top-ups in a range of European airlines including Lufthansa's home competitor, the failing airberlin. Despite that, it is not well known that the two have come close to a liaison before, suggesting that each sees an intrinsic logic in a relationship.
The partnership has potential to be more significant than Emirates-Qantas, Qatar-IAG or Etihad-AF-KLM. But for now it is limited in scope and caution should be exercised in extrapolating too far at this stage.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is seeking new growth platforms that sidestep the flagship business' uncompromising unions who would seemingly prefer a status quo that exists only in memory. Their support will be necessary if the partnership is to work and grow. Then Lufthansa, which has rallied the Star Alliance and JV partners against Gulf airlines, will need to explain its change of heart. For now Lufthansa will not partner on Etihad's beyond-Abu Dhabi network, a move that would embrace the fundamental business plan of Etihad and peers. That upside remains a matter for speculation.