Lufthansa, Swiss and Singapore Airlines (SIA) are joining forces to combat their rivals (see news, December 2015).

The co-operation takes the form of revenue and extensive code-sharing. And it is aimed at winning customers back from Gulf carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways who, in recent years, have captured a significant slice of the market.

How does it work?

Lufthansa and Swiss will feed passengers from cities in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland to their hubs in Munich and Zurich. From there they head to Singapore and onwards to SE Asia and Australasia with SIA.

In the return direction travellers departing SE Asia and Australasia return to Munich and Zurich via Singapore. Once they reach Europe they continue with Lufthansa/Swiss to the above range of cities.

Why are these three airlines so concerned about the Gulf carrier threat?

Because not only do the latter continue to add capacity to existing routes, they are moving into secondary cities too.

Few of these secondary cities are served by the Lufthansa Group who, in common with other national airlines in Europe, tend to offer long-haul flights only from their hubs.

It’s a similar situation in Asia/Australasia. One only has to look at the wide range of destinations served by the three major Gulf carriers compared to those served by the Europeans. And that is where this tie-up with SIA is so useful.

However note that the full programme of benefits will not be available immediately. And in the case of Germany it applies from Munich and not Lufthansa’s main Frankfurt hub.

So the co-operation will offer passengers a wider choice of routing and pricing options. There will also be extensive coverage in the above-named European countries plus SE Asia and Australasia.

Notes SIA “The new codeshare flights will be progressively made available.”