|Image Source: Star Alliance|
According to Star Alliance's Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Goh, the global alliance has no immediate need for Philippine Airlines. "There is no immediate need to be focusing on recruiting a member from the Philippines. I would not say that we see Philippine AIrlines as a prospective new member." said Goh. "Clearly, if you just think about the network of Philippine Airlines today, they have overlapping services with some of our members."
Goh added that Star Alliance remains committed to protecting the interests of its current 28 member airlines and before any new entrants are accepted, it is important to ensure that new carriers will not compromise the interests of existing members.
"We have hopeful members knocking on our doors and our analysis has to make sure that it is positive for all our current members," said Goh. "If we brought in a carrier that has a network that overlaps substantially with the current Star Alliance network, then we have to ask ourselves is there value in adding that airline as a new member? What destinations do we add? How many frequent fliers do we add?" Goh added that the addition of a new member carrier must bring positive opportunities for the members of the alliance either through network expansion or additional frequent fliers.
However, despite the Star Alliance's lack of interest in adding a Philippine carrier to its global portfolio, it does see an opportunity to expand its network in the Philippines through budget carriers. "Our members are constantly looking at ways to expand the network whenever that is possible. The Philippines has shown that there is a market here especially in the budget air sector," added Goh. "Of course, Manila isn't the center of the earth, but there is an opportunity for the network to grow."
Star Alliance is aware that it may have to rely on low-cost carriers to further penetrate the Philippines. There are no existing member budget airlines in Star Alliance, which is driven by its extensive network coverage carried by legacy airlines.
However, Goh indicated that the alliance is planning to connect with low-cost carriers in Brazil and India under its "connecting partner model." This unique model assists the alliance in boosting coverage in large markets, where existing members do not operate.
Member carriers of Star Alliance enjoy benefits such as additional revenue generation, cost reductions, as well as collaborative fleet coordination, information technology, and fuel projects. Passengers that are frequent flyers with Star Alliance carriers enjoy priority check-in, priority baggage handling, priority boarding, and airport lounge access among other benefits.
Star Alliance currently operates to more than 13,000 airports spread across 192 countries. Of the 28 member carriers of Star Alliance, nine currently serve the Philippines including: Air China, ANA, Asiana, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.