Continental Airlines has officially joined Star Alliance, bringing to an end a five-year membership of rival alliance Skyteam, and adding a third US carrier to the Star Alliance group.
The move also brings the prestigious London-New York route back within the Star network, something it lost when fellow US member United Airlines sold the rights to the route to Delta (a Skyteam member) in 2006. US Airways is also a Star Alliance member.
Speaking at the launch event, Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance said:
“Bringing Continental Airlines into Star Alliance has been a truly unique experience. This is the first time an airline has moved directly from one alliance to another and I would like to thank all those involved in ensuring a smooth switch.”
Chairman and CEO of Continental Larry Kellner described the carrier’s transition to Star Alliance as “one of the most important strategic moves we have accomplished in my career at Continental”.
Continental will add its three hubs of New York Newark, Houston and Cleveland to the Star network, along with an extensive Latin American network and the New York-London service. Star says that the addition of Continental means the alliance now serves 1,071 airports in 171 countries.
Report by Mark Caswell