The three global airline alliances usually work hard to compete against each other. However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and today we’ve seen these alliances coming together in the face of adversity. Now, the big three have called on governments and stakeholders to offer extraordinary support.
Recently, the airline industry as a whole has been struggling as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, as a result of a huge decrease in demand to travel, tied with increasing travel restrictions. This has given many airlines the option of operating almost empty flights, or none at all. Some airlines such as airBaltic and LOT Polish Airlines have even been forced to temporarily close.
Opposing forces come together
Typically there is a healthy competition running between the three big airline alliances. These are oneworld, SkyTeam, and the Star Alliance. However, in an extraordinary illustration of the pressure faced by the airline, the three have today come together to call for assistance.
The three airline alliances mentioned account for over half of the world’s air travel capacity. As a result, between them, they are incredibly well versed in airline management. The airlines involved include well-established airlines such as British Airways and KLM with over 100 years of operations, in addition to the powerful Lufthansa Group.
What have they called for?
The three airline alliances have urged governments to support airlines in the face of a crisis never before seen by the industry. In particular, the alliances urged governments to prepare for the economic effects of travel bans on the industry. As such, the governments must “evaluate all possible means to assist the airline industry during this unprecedented period”.
The group of alliances also urged stakeholders to provide any support possible. They used the example of airport operators evaluating landing fees. However, if taken too far, such efforts could just pass on the problem from airlines to airports who are already suffering from a severe shortage of flights in some cases.
What have the alliances’ CEOs said?
oneworld‘s CEO, Rob Gurney, said: “Governments must implement the measures they consider necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19, and must be prepared for the widescale economic implications that will result from those measures.”
Meanwhile, his SkyTeam counterpart, Kristin Colvile added: “The human and financial impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the aviation industry is unprecedented.”
Finally, Star Alliance’s CEO, Jeffrey Goh, said: “it is equally critical for governments and stakeholders to avoid further burdens and step up with measures, as some have, that will ensure the future of the travel industry.”
Have you felt the effect of coronavirus on aviation yet? Are the alliances asking for too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.