Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab, speaking at CAPA's World Aviation Summit in Amsterdam, stated (26/27-Nov-2013) the alliance is considering to add LCCs as members in its alliance but this will only be in certain markets where LCCs are the only viable options to secure a presence. Mr Schwab noted the alliance for example would not consider adding easyJet or Ryanair.
Star Alliance: we will add LCCs as members only in certain markets
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TAP Portugal transforms under new owners to tap potential; at forefront of narrowbody long haul
A period of restructuring following investment by new shareholders in TAP Portugal in Nov-2015 has led to a resurgent airline. It returned to profit in 2016 after two years of losses and enjoyed a surge in passenger numbers in 4Q2016.
The investment by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which HNA Group will formally join in 1H2017, provided funds for fleet expansion. TAP's orders include A321neoLR aircraft, giving it the potential to open new long haul routes not possible with widebodies.
TAP's VP finance, Teresa Lopes, told the CAPA Fleet & Finance Summit on 2-Mar-2017 that the A321neoLR would be deployed on the Atlantic, putting the airline at the forefront of narrowbody long haul operations. TAP's new shareholders have also enabled new partnerships with Brazil's Azul, JetBlue of the US and China's Hainan Airlines. The TAP-Azul relationship has already progressed beyond codeshare and the Hainan relationship offers much potential.
In the past year TAP has also reorganised its regional operation, launched a new fare structure and embarked on a seat densification programme to lower unit cost and drive revenue. As Ms Lopes said, "We are certainly going through a transformation, we don’t want to be envisioned as a legacy carrier anymore".
Norwegian Air, Ryanair talk bilateral interline. A good match but Kjos' alliance case less clear
Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos hopes to have an interline agreement in place with Ryanair before the end of 2017. Discussions between the two airlines have been taking place for many months, and both have publicly talked about the benefits of facilitating connecting passengers with a single ticket for a trip involving both airlines at airports where Norwegian operates long haul.
Mr Kjos told CNN Money on 1-Feb-2017 that he also envisaged an alliance formed of Europe's four leading independent LCCs: Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian and Wizz Air. There is mileage in pursuing bilateral interlining, focusing on connections between Norwegian's long haul and the other three's short/medium haul.
However, the case for intra-Europe connections among the four LCCs, let alone for something as developed as an alliance, is less clear.