I endured the original investor briefings by UA
and a few others on what the alliances would do, back in 1998, so I have no doubts about saying they haven't delivered. I even sat through Colin Marshall saying he could live with BA
losing the BA
identity if it controlled Oneworld, sorry oneworld, as a true global brand like Cunard.
Marshall was very good at a number of things, but the alliance thing 'escaped' as different things happened, not the least, the repeated failure of his brave efforts to merge AA
To all intents and purposes alliances are joining the ranks of the walking dead.
Joint service agreements and tightly constructed code shares are thriving. For example, you could argue that the very successful UA
/LH code share out of Chicago would be little affected by either being in the same or different alliances.
I think it is reasonable to suggest that without alliances some carriers would have been forced out of business. Equally I suggest that it is not a good thing to modify competition to save the weak. the weak should die.
It is astonisingly, even to a cynic like myself, that after all this time neither alliance has achieved stable 100% integration of back office and reservations systems.
I doubt that I'm not alone in experiencing the check in apology for not being able to issue the boarding pass needed for the connecting carrier, not having my favourite seat booking honoured, even when it appears on my itinerary, and being treated like an alien entity on producing my Qantas Club card at a lounge where they think it must be a forgery because it spells Quantas without the 'u.'
To be fair to alliances, especially Star, they do offer some astonishingly good combo deals from time to time, but they are yield limited means of disposing of inventory not expected to sell by normal means.
I can think of two corporate travel management companies in Australia that can beat these deals any day on nearly any carrier you can name.
Alliances could roar back into frame in a world where there is more approval for flags of convenience carriers with AOCs issued by dubious authorities, and the professional standards of training, checking and general maintenance have been diminished to some pitiful lowest common denominator. Likewise if we had free trade agreements that abolished competition laws and consumer protection legislation.
I don't think too many of us would think this would be a good thing.
In the meantime most of the market will be motivated by price and availability, not meaningless oneworld or Star logo stuff.