The leading global airline alliances, Star Alliance and One World, are adding airline members.

StarAlliance has this week announced that it is adding Swiss International Air Lines, while rival One World is making steps to integrate Malev Hungarian Airlines. The announcement from Star Alliance was anticipated, following the acquisition by one of the alliance’s leading carriers, Lufthansa, of Swiss in March this year.

The deal means Star Alliance members will eventually be able to enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer programme and lounge benefits with Swiss. They will also be able to interline between Swiss and other alliance carriers, i.e. book a multi leg trip under one ticket and check-in luggage to their end destination in the event of an indirect flight.

The decision byBudapest carrier, Malev, to join One World will boost the alliance’s global reach by four countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Slovenia) and add 11 new airports. But first Malev must present a business plan and ensure it offers service in line with One World specifications.

Malev chief executive Janos Gönci said membership of the alliance was crucial for the carrier. “In the current state of the airline industry there is no chance of sustainable earnings for a mid-sized network carrier without partners,” he said.

Report by Ginny McGrath