When Aer Lingus left OneWorld a number of years ago I thought it was a huge mistake. They did well however, coming through the financial difficulties, taking on Ryanair and even reopening some of the code share that had existed before, and some new ones.
This week there has beens some major changes to the airline alliances that exist around the world. To recap some of them – Qatar joined OneWorld which is covered in a few places such as One Mile at a Time, Wandering Armenian or View from a Wing. Etihad, KLM/AirFrance and Air Berlin have issued a new code sharing agreement and Qantas Ditched BA for Emirates.
So what do they mean for Ireland. Well at the moment very little but I think we may see a decrease in the value of airline alliances overall and an increase in the code shares and other agreements. Which if nothing else will make it head wrecking to keep track of who’s in bed with who. I thought Aer Lingus would be making to move towards Star Alliance given their recent agreements with Air Canada and United and the fact that BA have decided to operate the LHR-DUB route in competition. With the demise of BMI, DUB is lacking a major Star Presence. Coupled with the fact that Aer Lingus will be moving to the terminal in LHR that will house all of the Star airlines. However EI’s new agreement with Ethiad might mean that idea is gone for now. Their deal with KLM seams to be a strong indicator if anything they might join Sky Team, along with Air Berlin’s One World Defection.
Two things this has shown us that the big Middle East carriers are here to stay and will have a major impact and the time of alliances maybe drawing to a close.