Star Alliance CEO Says COVID Has No Competitive Gain For Airlines

Airlines around the world are always competing to be the best, be that the fastest, the cheapest, or the most luxurious. However, we’ve seen several times that the usual rules of competition have been thrown aside as airlines work together to get through the current crisis.

US Airlines, Treasury Loan, CARES Funding
COVID brings no competitive advantages to airlines. Photo: Getty Images

This was reiterated yesterday by the CEO of Star Alliance, who reiterated that there are no competitive gains to be had from the current crisis. Earlier today, the three largest alliances released a joint announcement on standardizing expected travel procedures in the age of COVID.

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No competitive gains

Airlines are always trying to get one up on the other. Yesterday, talking at the “Restructuring in the aviation industry – permanent challenges” webinar hosted by the BSE Agency, Jeffrey Goh, CEO of the Star Alliance, touched on the issue of competition.

Goh demonstrated this competition by touching on biometric systems, saying:

“If you’re talking about my biometric system is you know 10 seconds faster than the other, there’s a competitive environment behind that.”

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Star Alliance’s CEO made the comments at a webinar yesterday. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

However, he then went on to point out that there is no competitive environment when it comes to public health.

“From a hygiene and safety perspective, I think there’s no competitive gain out of this… We should have an international kind of a standard or platform from which to operate like this.”

A standard platform

Currently, the procedures in place for airlines to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic are a bit of a patchwork mishmash. Airlines have rushed through decisions that may have taken weeks or months before if not longer, to ensure public safety. However, as a result, each airline is offering something slightly different.

The world’s three most significant alliances, oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam, have today come together to roll out a standard of what to expect when flying with one of their member airlines. The alliance group put aside their usual competitive differences to produce a film on the subject:

The measures announced by the group won’t come as a surprise for many who have already been back in the skies since the height of the crisis.

Of course, masks were part of the announcement. Almost every airline at least recommends masks if they don’t require them already. The alliances are also suggesting that passengers observe social distancing while at the airport.

Onboard each member airline, hospital-grade HEPA filters are busy at work, ensuring that the air circulating onboard is kept as clean as possible for passengers. Yesterday we investigated just how safe and clean the atmosphere onboard an aircraft is.

Commenting on the new initiative, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said,

“Safety has always been at the core of our member airlines’ operations and this will continue to be the case. With the additional health and well-being measures that have been implemented by our member airlines, and across the industry, customers can embark on their travel with confidence.”

Do you feel confident flying at the moment? Do you think airlines should be competing on hygiene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!