Well it seems it’s Star Alliance turn to welcome a new member, with Ethiopian Airlines formally joining the alliance.
This marks the 3rd airline in the region who has join Star Alliance – along with South African Airways and Egyptair, opening more markets up for the Star.
They will participate in the Star Alliance Conventions Plus and Meetings Plus, Star Alliance Round the World Pass and Star Alliance Africa Airpass from 1st January 2012.
This expands Star Alliance’s coverage in Africa with 16 airlines serving more than 750 daily flights to over 110 destinations in 48 countries.
Ethiopian itself operates s 38 cities in Africa, 8 in Europe and the Americas, 15 in the Middle East and Asia, and16 domestic destinations
Of course for mileage people, new redemptions are now opening up for members of ShebaMiles, and for everyone else in Star Alliance – just don’t expect the redemptions to be loaded on the GDS’s quite yet.
In terms of fleet, a lot of the usual suspects are there including Bombardier Dash-8 400’s, Boeing 737-700/800’s, Boeing 757’s and 767’s of varying configurations and Boeing 777-200LR’s. Ethiopian will also be expecting to take delivery of Boeing 787’s and Airbus 350-900’s in the future.
It’s been a quiet year for Star Alliance expansion (mainly due to the fallout of the Air India membership shenanigans), with SkyTeam the major growth member of the year. For Star Alliance, things could be more interesting with the Avianca-TACA, Copa Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines due to join.