AMERICAS: Continental to join Star Alliance in Oct

Continental Airlines said this week that it expected to join the Star Alliance on 27 October, three days after leaving the rival SkyTeam grouping. The Houston-based carrier has managed to maintain its schedule for the transfer–the first defection between the three alliances, which also includes Oneworld, that dominate the global airline sector–despite a longer-thanexpected approval […]


antitrust approval Continental Airlines oneworld SkyTeam Star Alliance


Continental Airlines said this week that it expected to join the Star Alliance on 27 October, three days after leaving the rival SkyTeam grouping.

The Houston-based carrier has managed to maintain its schedule for the transfer–the first defection between the three alliances, which also includes Oneworld, that dominate the global airline sector–despite a longer-thanexpected approval process from US regulators.

Continental opted to exit SkyTeam, which is led by Delta Air Lines, after the world’s largest carrier by revenue successfully merged with Northwest Airlines, creating a fiercer competitor on domestic and international routes despite a loose marketing alliance between the trio.

The quick move into Star will allow Continental to leverage its new partners’ route networks and frequent flyers at a time when airlines face a slump in demand, notably among high-margin business passengers.

The carrier was invited to join Star by UAL, after it rejected a merger in favor of a commercial pact with the parent of United Airlines, a founder member of the alliance alongside Lufthansa.

It was also wooed by the third airline group, Oneworld, led by American Airlines’ parent AMR Corp. and British Airways which is seeking to match the antitrust approval for cooperation secured by Star and SkyTeam.