Aegean and Tarom latest European carriers to join alliances; 20 of top 35 airlines in Europe now alliance members

Aegean adds its 28 international and 26 domestic routes to the Star Alliance network. Lufthansa’s Wolfgang Mayrhuber led alliance member CEOs in witnessing the symbolic model aircraft presentation by Aegean CEO Theodore Vassilakis to Star CEO Jaan Albrecht in what was a suitably modest joining ceremony, contrasting to past parties thrown at the Pyramids by Egyptair and Grand Place by Brussels Airlines.

The last few weeks have seen three airlines join one of the three global airline alliance groupings. Tarom and Vietnam Airlines joined SkyTeam while last week Aegean Airlines officially became a member of the Star Alliance. As a result, 52 of the world’s airlines are now members of one of the alliances with several more carriers such as Air India (Star), China Eastern (SkyTeam), Kingfisher (oneworld), Olympic (Star) and S7 (oneworld) expected to join in the next 18 months. The Star Alliance currently has more members (28) than the other two alliances put together and believes that ultimately it may have as many as 50 member airlines.

Alliance European airlines North American airlines Asian airlines Other airlines
oneworld (11) British Airways
American Airlines Cathay Pacific
Royal Jordanian
SkyTeam (13) Aeroflot
Air Europa
Air France
Czech Airlines
Delta China Southern
Korean Air
Vietnam Airlines
Kenya Airways
Star (28) Adria Airways
Aegean Airlines
Brussels Airlines
Croatia Airlines
Turkish Airlines
Air Canada
US Airways
Air China
Shanghai Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Thai Airways
Air New Zealand
Source: Alliance websites

Almost half of all alliance member airlines are based in Europe where competition is provided on intra-European services by a variety of low-cost and hybrid airlines. Analysing scheduled capacity at European airports reveals that only two of the top five airlines in Europe (Lufthansa and Air France) are alliance members, with ‘independent’ carriers Ryanair (first), easyJet (third) and airberlin (fifth).

Chart: Top 35 airlines at Europe's airports Weekly departing seat capacity

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 5 July 2010

Aegean is ranked 27th in Europe and thus now gives Star (in green) its 10th airline member in the top 35. SkyTeam (in red) has six airlines in the top 35 in Europe (though not recent addition Tarom who rank only 57th in Europe) while oneworld (in blue) has just three members in the top 35, with Malev ranked just 42nd.

Excluding low-cost and hybrid airlines, the biggest ‘traditional’ airline that is not yet an alliance member is Meridiana, ranked 28th, one place behind Aegean. Future alliance members S7 and Olympic are ranked 33rd and 34th. Ranked just outside the top 35 is Delta, which is the leading non-European based airline operating in Europe (and a SkyTeam member).

Among the top 35 airlines, Star members have a 28% share of seat capacity, SkyTeam members have 17% while oneworld carriers have just 10%. That leaves 45% of capacity among the leading airlines provided by non-aligned carriers.


  1. Andy in NC says:

    Delta offers intra-European flights? I remember flying FRA-PRG and FRA-ATH 15 years ago with them but this should no longer be the case, right?!

    • Indeed, you are right. Delta no longer operates any intra-European flights.

      In this analysis, we have looked at airlines’ total traffic at European airports, both intra- and extra-European, which is why Delta almost made it to the list with its considerable transatlantic (and to some extent Asian) capacity at European airports.

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