Star Alliance returned to Frankfurt, the place of its birth, this past weekend to celebrate 20 years of “Connecting People and Cultures.”
For the next decade, the Alliance announced a strategy of harnessing digital technology to further enhance the travel experience of Alliance customers.
The Alliance’s chief executive board, comprising the CEOs of all 28 member airlines, held its summer board meeting in Frankfurt on May 14, during which the CEOs were briefed on the progress of the Alliance’s current business plan and future strategy. The meeting fell exactly 20 years to the day when its founder members – Air Canada, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, THAI and United – first told the aviation industry they would come together to form the world’s first global aviation alliance.
“Our founding fathers had a very forward thinking vision back in 1997,” said Jeffrey Goh, who took over as CEO of Star Alliance in January. “From that moment on Star Alliance was destined to drive innovation in the airline industry. We have done this successfully for the last 20 years, constantly striving to meet that original vision of a global network seamlessly integrated for international travel.”
The Alliance enters its third decade with a strong and comprehensive network serving over 1,300 destinations in 191 countries.
The Alliance’s strategic focus has shifted from network expansion to providing a seamless experience especially to the more than 14 million annual customers who connect between member carriers on their journeys. Going forward, digital technologies will lie at the heart of this strategy.
“Access to instant information updates online from more or less anywhere has irrevocably changed the expectations of customers as they travel,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines and current chairman of the Star Alliance chief executive board. “Passengers want to have control over their journey at their fingertips. That means having full access to a wealth of information, but also being able to personalize it to their own particular requirements. Providing such services to today’s ‘digital’ traveller on an alliance level is the central pillar of our new strategic focus.”