Slim Chances For A Major Virgin Atlantic Alliance

The airline has little to offer others for 'joining its bandwagon'.
COMMENT, Business Trends


Co-ordinating frequent flier miles and the like may sound like the birth of a fourth airline alliance but the reality is much different. Virgin Atlantic has very little on offer for anyone else to “join in” on their bandwagon.

When the Star Alliance was formed in the mid-1990s, it was too early to tell how much influence such a grouping would have on air transport policy, open skies and even mergers between airlines once seen as flag carriers for their home nations.

How times have changed. Indeed, they’ve changed so much that the likes of Virgin Atlantic have completely missed the boat and now their only realistic chance of salvaging a spot rests either the Star Alliance or Skyteam Alliance – for clearly obvious reasons they won’t be entertaining the hosts at oneworld.

In the time that the Star Alliance has become a dominant grouping, Virgin Atlantic has concentrated its efforts on British Airways and lost sight of the bigger picture. Perhaps its 49% shareholder Singapore Airlines could get them a backdoor pass into the Star Alliance where almost certainly the airline would be welcomed and benefit from the near 30-members the assemblage has.

Co-ordinating the activities of VAustralia, Virgin Blue, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic is only going to appeal to die-hard brand-loyal customers and bring nothing to anyone having to use the other carriers due to choice, price or any other reason.

For that reason, it is going to be extremely difficult to attract new members that may have other interline agreements with constituents of the other three alliances and even more difficult recruiting any big names that currently sit on the sidelines, like any of the Arab carriers, EVA Air or others.

A new alliance? Highly unlikely – credit for Virgin to try and play the game, despite being late but they’ll probably end up where Singapore Airlines is since they don’t have much choice to make a go of a new grouping all on their own.

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