Global alliances back LHR third runway plans
Heathrow's plans for a third runway were given a boost today after receiving the backing of the Oneworld, Star and Skyteam alliances.
The Airport Commission last week published a summary of the short and medium term proposals on how to expand the UK's airport capacity (see online news, August 7).
It suggested that one of the alliances could be moved to another south-east airport.
But none of the global alliances want to leave LHR, so have publicly backed the airport's three proposals for a third runway.
Oneworld leader British Airways said it wants to stay at Heathrow and has the support of its alliance, whose members include American Airlines, Air Berlin and Iberia.
The Star Alliance, which includes United Airlines, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, is due to move into the new Terminal 2 next year.
A spokesman said: "This will allow us to effectively compete with the other alliances in Heathrow and add to the quality of our services, and therefore we do not see any opportunity for us to make a change to another airport."
And Skyteam, which includes Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and China Eastern, has also ruled out leaving Heathrow.
Tae Joon Kim, SkyTeam's vice-president of airport services, said: "Relocating to another London or UK airport is not an option for our members."
The Airports Commission is now seeking feedback on the various submissions from all parties by September 27.
It will then present its interim findings by the end of the year and a full report is scheduled to follow in summer 2015.
LateralThinker - 15/08/2013 14:40
Given the constant changes in the air transport industry and all the differences that individual members of each of these alliances have between each other behind the scences, and that alliances are a "second-best" (to full-scale mergers between airlines) interim solution, chances are that today's alliances -- Oneworld, Skyteam and Star -- may no longer exist in their current shape or even be no longer around by the time any new runways in the Southeast of England eventually open.
One should therefore not give too much importance to what they have to say. Also, businesses -- incl airlines -- are opportunistic. They can and do suddenly and/or unexpectedly change course.
This happened for example when deregulation of the US internal air market was first proposed in the mid-1970s: every airline in the US except Southwest, at the time a tiny upstart, was against; until United broke ranks and joined forces with Southwest against the will of the rest of the industry. ... and the rest, as they say, is history...
Besides, how many of the three big global alliances' members are actually genuinely making money? Apart from the the three big Gulf carriers and other "blue chips" such as BA, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines not too many.
In fact, the majority of these alliances' members are small, mediocre outfits with no scale and an uncompetitive cost base that are struggling to remain in business. Their managements also seem to be under the illusion that membership of a global alliance can save them and, in the specific context of Heathrow, their privileged presence at the UK's premier airport is somehow going to ensure their profitability.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case as these airlines' brands don't enjoy the same reputation as those of the "blue chips" and thus fail to attract a comparable yield premium.
Last but not least, the timing and wording of this and several similar articles that have recently appeared in the media seem to suggest that the real purpose of this propaganda is to put pressure on the independent airports commission to find in Heathrow's favour.
ADD A COMMENT »