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NZ321
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The future of Alliances

Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:27 pm

With HKX today announcing a tie up with Westjet as I predicted it raises the question to me - even though some evidence points to the contrary - as to whether a 4th alliance could be possible.

Hainan group, Emirates, Etihad have avoided alliances to this point. Some parts of the world have neighbouring airlines in the same alliance (e.g. TG and SQ; MU and CA; CI and KE; NH and BR; CX and MH; LH, SK, OS, LX; some of these arrangements are less than comfortable. Meanwhile there are other airlines like VA, Malindo, Visitara, AS, B6 etc which could be ripe for the picking.

Question is, has the day of Alliances passed (i.e. that it's in the interests of the growing body of quality independents to remain neutral and also that this is an essential element in what makes the wider network functional) or are we likely to see a reshuffling of the pack or emergence of a 4th alliance? Thoughts?
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eirflot
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:03 am

I guess it depends on how well organised the alliances are. In my opinion Star is the easiest and most connected, then Sky and finally One. BA always seems to be disconnected from its alliance partners and I am never sure with Sky if I will get connecting boarding passes. I find Star simple and usually efficient. But to answer your question - the alliances will continue to exist so long as they have value for the airlines. When that value diminishes enough, the alliances will disappear.
 
downdata
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:11 am

Yet OW is the only alliance that allows alliance wide lounge access...
 
StudiodeKadent
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:55 pm

I think we're moving towards a world of strong bilaterals rather than global alliances.

SQ has never been totally cuddly with the rest of Star. OneWorld has to deal with Cathay and Qantas (whom hate eachother) as founding members. SkyTeam has always been a bit more loose than the other alliances.

Airlines are not all the same. Network differences are enough to differentiate the product. Then there's yield differences per country etc.

This means the most reasonable situation is that each airline will be choosing its own partners.
 
dredgy
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:27 am

Alliances have always been pretty rubbish for me, I'm never able to get to the destinations I want or earn the points I want.

For me, alliances can work, but they'd have to function as one airline - every flight would have to be codeshared with every other airline in an alliance.
For instance, I'm flying Lufthansa DEL to FRA to LIS to GRU to BEL.
My flights from FRA to LIS is on TAP metal, but I was not able to take a direct flight from LIS to GRU or BEL with TAP, I had to fly back to Frankfurt, all the way down to Sao Paulo and double back to BEL. Inefficient. Since I'm in business class, the flight time isn't a major discomfort but if I was in economy I would have f**ked Lufthansa and moved to KLM and flown direct to Paramaribo instead.
 
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NeBaNi
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:50 pm

dredgy wrote:
Alliances have always been pretty rubbish for me, I'm never able to get to the destinations I want or earn the points I want.

For me, alliances can work, but they'd have to function as one airline - every flight would have to be codeshared with every other airline in an alliance.
For instance, I'm flying Lufthansa DEL to FRA to LIS to GRU to BEL.
My flights from FRA to LIS is on TAP metal, but I was not able to take a direct flight from LIS to GRU or BEL with TAP, I had to fly back to Frankfurt, all the way down to Sao Paulo and double back to BEL. Inefficient. Since I'm in business class, the flight time isn't a major discomfort but if I was in economy I would have f**ked Lufthansa and moved to KLM and flown direct to Paramaribo instead.

So the alliances may not have worked for you, but you worked for the alliance perfectly with that example. Star had the more circuitous route, but you still stuck with them instead of switching to KLM. Seems like the alliance worked perfectly to retain you as a customer.
 
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Coal
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:23 pm

downdata wrote:
Yet OW is the only alliance that allows alliance wide lounge access...

Huh? I don't know about ST, but *A also allows alliance wide lounge access if you have the status.
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
dredgy
Posts: 506
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Re: The future of Alliances

Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:27 am

NeBaNi wrote:
dredgy wrote:
So the alliances may not have worked for you, but you worked for the alliance perfectly with that example. Star had the more circuitous route, but you still stuck with them instead of switching to KLM. Seems like the alliance worked perfectly to retain you as a customer.


Actually, they've done the opposite, I won't be booking alliance fares again and will go back to booking individual legs on separate tickets with no brand loyalty.
I was going to use the miles I earned from that trip to fly to Kenyan on Ethiopian and am now going Kenyan direct.

Isn't just a problem with Star, have had many similar things on every alliance - I can't book the flights I want on one ticket and I can't earn points equally across members.

As soon as alliance actually makes it easier, and not harder, to book the flights I want and they have an alliance wide loyalty program, then I think alliances could actually be pretty powerful into the future. But as it stands where Alliance members are of no obligation to integrate with the other members, there's no bright future.
 
NichCage
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Re: The future of Alliances

Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:41 am

I don't think alliances will be going away anytime soon. I think Air Astana and Juneyao Airlines have expressed interest in the Star Alliance, so an new member may join now and then.

I do understand that some carriers (like EK) dislikes airline alliances, and doubts them. Some passengers may not like them as well. I think that travelling on a variety of airlines and not limiting yourself to an alliance means you will have more unique travel experiences, in my opinion.
 
AAvgeek744
Posts: 750
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:08 pm

Re: The future of Alliances

Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:57 am

downdata wrote:
Yet OW is the only alliance that allows alliance wide lounge access...


If that is a reason to support alliances, it's pretty weak. So many airlines in the three alliances have some sort of JV's or agreements with carriers in competing alliances. IMO, I think they have about out-lived their usefulness.
 
PayaLebar
Posts: 132
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Re: The future of Alliances

Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:49 am

NichCage wrote:
I think that travelling on a variety of airlines and not limiting yourself to an alliance means you will have more unique travel experiences, in my opinion.


Regrettably, I am learning that from a recent experience with UL. They've revised their mileage accrual very recently without any notification given to their SkyMiles members.
 
keitherson
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What is the future of Alliances? Is there room for a 4th?

Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:02 am

Taking a look around, there are some pretty big airlines without an alliance:
    Norwegian
    Air Asia X
    Philippines Airlines
    Air Baltic
    Virgin Atlantic
    Virgin Australia
    Royal Air Maroc
    Oman Air
    GOL
    Azul
    Iranair
    Emirates
    Etihad Airways
    Alaska Airlines
    JetBlue
    WestJet
    Pakistan Airlines
    Jet Airways
    Hainan Airlines (including Hong Kong Airlines, Capital Airlines, etc.)

Yes, I didn't include Southwest, Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Arabia, Air Asia etc. since they don't seem intent on extensive partnerships or going beyond all-Y single aircraft. Alliances as a concept generally gear towards business class travelers (seamless travel, shared lounges, priority services, etc.).

And of course, many airlines are already tied up in joint ventures and don't need alliances: VA/VS/G3/WS/9W are all with DL. EK is with QF and AS.

EY had tried something with their equity stake partners and forming a loose alliance, however too many of their partners were already in alliances. Seeing Alitalia and Air Berlin balance their relationship with EY and with oneworld/Skyteam was quite interesting.

Many airlines probably looking back on the concept of the alliance would not have gone through and structured it more like joint ventures, if they had the chance to redo the entire thing. That's certainly what DL is trying to do, turning Skyteam relationships into a tiered one with "Tier 1 partners". Now new airlines are being made, wholly owned by legacies, that are purposely left outside of alliances: LEVEL, Eurowings, Scoot, Jetstar, Transavia. Others, like Rouge, JOON, are allowed in.

But would there be a room for a 4th alliance? Since HNA Group bought a stake in VA, there's been some growing partnership there.

There were interesting things happening between JetBlue, TAP Portugal, and Azul due to David Neeleman: and now supposedly, Aigle Azur.

LCCs have tried an alliance, uFly alliance, but it was totally useless since there's no connecting traffic and no real impact on consumers (lounge access, codesharing, etc.). Other one-offs include Easyjet's connecting partnership with Air Europa and Ryanair is supposed to start selling connecting flights too.

Will any of this progress to a level of formal cooperation above and beyond limited codesharing or passive ownership stakes?

Or is the future going to be more long-haul growth from independent LCCs with short-haul traffic (like Norwegian, Air Asia X), while the Big 3 Alliances stagnate and slowly lose market share (even to their own LCCs) and/or become solely JVs?
 
downdata
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Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:38 am

Re: What is the future of Alliances? Is there room for a 4th?

Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:29 am

Value alliance is the 4th largest and twice as big as ufly...
 
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neomax
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Re: What is the future of Alliances? Is there room for a 4th?

Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:29 am

I think the way to look at it as that JV's are "new" alliances. Today, JV's are a way for airlines to add partners outside of their alliance in addition to JV's with some but not all within its alliance. This strategy basically gives an airline the best of both worlds. This is basically why DL can have strong ties with VS/WS outside Skyteam and not AZ/CZ in Skyteam, and then choose AM/AF/KL/KE/MU from all the airlines within Skyteam. In essence, you have to use your imagination for this, but this subset is its own alliance, unique to Delta. Each airline uses this strategy, and no two are exactly alike, whether due to geographical competition, out of necessity, etc.

The straight answer to your question is yes, I think we will see a fourth, although I don't know when, what it will be called or who will be in it. The reason for this is the opposite of why alliances exist: Alliances were made to create partner airlines; a fourth "modern" alliance will be composed of nonaligned airlines that already have JV partnerships with each other to begin with and will be mutually beneficial. Once you think about it, it starts to make some sense. This fourth alliance would not be like the other three, as the airlines most likely to join it have expressed downsides to the "traditional" alliance model. The current model, as Tim Clark of EK has stated is flawed because it limits partners you can have with the alliance at the center instead of JV's at the center. Let's take Oneworld for example. Airlines that want to partner on Oneworld are connected by virtue of Oneworld, not the airlines themselves. A fourth alliance would essentially cut out the concept of being connected to a central point as opposed to point to point. Let's take Westjet and Emirates for example. There is a codeshare agreement, but this is true for thousands of airline combinations, so it practically has no weight beyond getting you from point A to B. As far as some form of comprehensive JV or alliance connecting the two, there is none. Emirates is not a member of any alliance, neither is Westjet, but both work together given EK's limited access to Canada and WS ability to provide extensive feed. WS has a JV with DL, and EK will never work with DL in a traditional sense as they are in bed with B6. But not being in a traditional alliance is advantageous to both, as it allows them to work together with both aligned and nonaligned partners outside of their own sphere. For our purposes, let's assume DL is a competitor to EK, and WS and B6 are not. Both work with EK but not together. Being a member of a traditional alliance would force an extension of Emirates's good relations with WS/DL to B6/DL, which is obviously not going to happen. But the main point of advantage for a fourth alliance would be the ability to flow pax "over" a competitor when the partner doesn't fly there. If somebody wants to fly to MYR from SYD, they have no one stop option with a US airline as DL is nonaligned with EK while B6 doesn't fly there. But DL partner WS does, so EK is not limited to US airlines and has much more flexibility to be creative and opens itself up to many more markets it could not otherwise offer. It cuts out the middleman, which is the alliance itself, as opposed to an airline-airline JV structure that links all of them. I think the most important thing for a fourth alliance is having a very comprehensive global network and the cooperation necessary for a real global alliance. There is no shortage of such airlines in the world, with several strong partners in each region such as B6/AS/WS/DY/EK/HU that could work well together and be considered a real fourth alliance. All of these airlines offer specialized unique service to some very niche markets, and the world needs an alliance that offers a strong network at a good price. When put together, you will notice all of these airlines are very strong in their market, whether its B6 in the East, AS in the west, WS in Canada, DY in TATL LCLH, EK globally, and HU in TPAC LCLH. All are already extremely popular with a large segment of the world's population, with most people having flown at least half or more. The combined network is almost unbeatable in North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. With some more partners like Norwegian Argentina or Indigo, it may become the alliance of choice for many people offering the strongest global network and price, that lets airlines work together to maximize the mutual benefit for both airlines and pax around the world with all new options that don't exist with the constraints of current single airline to airline JV's or alliance bubbles.

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