Star Alliance is set to expand its network reach with the launch of its Connecting Partner Model.
Under this new concept, routes operated by “low-cost” and “hybrid” airlines will be able to connect to the Alliance network.
South African low-cost airline Mango has been selected as the first airline with which Star Alliance will be implementing the new concept.
This will allow customers of Star Alliance member carriers to select from an even wider choice of destinations and flights.
Connecting Partners will be assessed for their fit into the existing Star Alliance network.
While these selected airlines need to comply and adhere to the operating standard required by the Alliance, they will not become a member of the Alliance itself.
Passengers travelling on an itinerary which includes a transfer between a Star Alliance member airline and a Connecting Partner will be offered Alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in.
Connecting Partners will enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include additional Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges.
Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance, said:
“With this innovative concept, we are breaking new ground. We see a definite trend of convergence between the ‘traditional full service’ and ‘low-cost’ business models in the airline industry. At the same time, our customers are telling us that they need access to markets where we do not yet provide ideal coverage. In many cases network carriers are not in a position to fill this gap and hence working with future Connecting Partners will allow us to provide an extended network to our travellers.”
Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, said:
“Innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence are the cornerstones of Mango and fundamental to our culture as a business. Participation in the development of, and ultimately becoming the launch Star Alliance Connecting Partner airline, wedges-in with our medium to long term business objective.”
Mango is a state-owned South African low-cost airline, founded in 2006 as a subsidiary of South African Airways, that operates domestic scheduled budget services.
It’s main base is Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (JNB).
Mango operates a fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft, all with 186 seats.
N.B. Image credit: flymango.com