The Chief Executive Board of the Star Alliance voted unanimously to accept Swiss International Air Lines’ (Swiss) application for membership at the alliance's conference in Nagoya, Japan.
This step marks the beginning of the process of Swiss formally joining the alliance, which currently consists of 16 airlines worldwide. Swiss expects to become a member of the alliance in the coming year.
Following the unanimous vote, Swiss is now set to become a new member of the global Star Alliance. “Joining Star Alliance represents a milestone for our company and its customers,” said Christoph Franz, president and chief executive officer of Swiss. “As a quality airline with a worldwide reputation, Swiss is the preferred carrier of a large number of high-value international travellers. And as a Star Alliance member, we will be even better equipped to meet their specific air travel needs.”
Customers of all member airlines stand to benefit. Upon the integration of Swiss and South African Airways, another new applicant, the Star Alliance member carriers offers travellers a worldwide network consisting of 846 destinations in 151 countries. Star Alliance customers enjoy today access to 620 lounges around the world.
Swiss intends to fulfill the requirements for membership in the Star Alliance within the next 12 months. This process involves harmonising and adapting IT interfaces, training staff, marketing, and adapting documentation.
Parallel to this process, the integration of Swiss into the Lufthansa Group will also be vigorously pursued. Joining the Star Alliance is one of the integration projects in which the focus is on benefits to customers. Upon approval from the competition authorities, the first such benefits should become apparent.
The airline is currently in the early stages of integration within Lufthansa AG; however a number of areas are being worked on to ensure a smooth transition for both airlines, as well as their passengers. While, independently of the planned integration, Swiss continues to consistently implement the actions announced in January 2005 to create a profitable and competitive basis for growth.
Swiss has shown strong improvements on its regional seat load factors for the first quarter of 2005. Swiss daily route of Zurich-Dubai-Muscat saw a strong 90 percent seat load, while the three times weekly Zurich-Jeddah-Riyadh route saw gains to achieve a 70 per cent seat load.
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