Star Alliance has launched a new initiative aimed at increasing connectivity with low-cost and hybrid carriers.
Under its new Connecting Partner scheme, LCCs will be able to connect to the Star Alliance network, expanding the range of route options for passengers.
“We see a definite trend of convergence between the traditional full-service and low-cost business models in the airline industry,” said Mark Schwab, CEO of Star Alliance.
“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.”
While many LCCs do not provide the level of service and benefits needed to become an alliance member, Star said those entering the programme will need to provide passenger and baggage transfer services, while frequent flyers may be offered privileges in line with the LCC’s product offerings.
The alliance said that it will “carefully assess” LCCs and only select airlines that “comply and adhere to the high operating standard”. They will not become full members of the alliance.
The first LCC to join the Connecting Partner scheme will be South Africa’s Mango, which is expected to be integrated into the Star network by the third quarter of 2016.