Another new star!

Turkish Airlines is preparing to become an important part of the global flight network on April 1st by joining the Star Alliance, whose 19 member airlines fly to 897 destinations in 160 countries.

Global travel began increasing rapidly starting in the mid-1990's. This development meant that airline companies had to make more frequent flights in order to bring more passengers to more destinations. Expanding the travel network of passengers in particular became more imperative by the day. On 14 May 1997 in the German city of Frankfurt, a group of the world's leading airline companies came together to realize something that had never been tried before. The purpose: to enhance passengers' travel quality and the efficiency of carriers by forming an alliance that would link up their network systems, their waiting lounges, their check-in services, and their ticket sales and services.

Member airlines linked to each other by the hub and spoke system are able to offer passengers a global itinerary. Any airline passenger on an alliance member is considered a customer of any other airline which is a member of the Star Alliance.

Establishing links with several cities around the world, the alliance joins 897 points in 160 countries and enables member airlines to reach regions beyond those where they can fly on their own. Previously when transporting their passengers point-to-point, airline companies developed a hub and spoke system for the purpose increasing of the number of destinations to which a passenger could fly. The Star Alliance hub and spoke system linked every airline that was a member of the alliance to the other member-airlines.

Star Alliance is a group that brings together the world's most advanced international airline companies. These airlines exhibit a common resolve on points such as according continuous worldwide recognition and status to frequent flyers, ensuring safe and comfortable travel to all points in the world, and providing smooth, trouble-free service. Alliance members today are able to beat the competition by flying to more points than any other alliance. The primary purpose here is to make the travel experience easier and more enjoyable for the passenger.

There are three major airline alliances in the world today: the Star Alliance, founded in 1997 and spearheaded by Lufthansa; Oneworld, founded in 1998 and spearheaded by British Airways; and Sky Team, founded in 2000 and spearheaded by Air France.

The Star Alliance network is the largest airline alliance, linking the products and service networks of nineteen of the world's leading airlines (and three regional airlines). Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, THAI, United, and US Airways are among Star Alliance's members. The regional carriers include Adria Airways, Blue1 and Croatia Airlines. Flying to 897 points in 160 countries, Star Alliance makes more than 17,000 flights a day.

Following a decision by the Board of Directors in 2004, Turkish Airlines set itself the strategic goal of joining a global airline alliance and formed a sub-commission to look into the subject. Starting in mid-2005, negotiations were held in Turkey and abroad with representatives of both Star Alliance and Sky Team, and information and documents were collected on topics deemed to be important. In line with the analyses and assessments that were made, it was decided to begin negotiations aimed at joining the Star Alliance, taking into account such factors as competitive advantage, material gain, the opportunity of opening up further to the globalizing world, and the realization of Turkish Airlines' other medium and long-range strategic goals.

Pointing out that with its vision, experience and service quality Turkish Airlines aims to become more active in the global market, Board Chairman Dr. Candan Karlıtekin regards the agreement as a milestone: “Turkish Airlines' target is to become a world trademark in its sector. We therefore see ourselves as a part of the international competition. We are moving forward slowly but surely towards a position where we can compete with the world's giants. Membership in Star Alliance is therefore a development of historic significance for us, a milestone. Istanbul, which has joined Europe and Asia for centuries, is now going to become the 'Bosphorus Bridge' of world aviation.”

Various steps towards membership are continuing to be taken successfully in areas such as information technologies infrastructure, marketing, sales, customer services and ground operations, during the process of preparation for and harmonization with the alliance. When this process is complete, Turkish Airlines passengers will have the acquired the possibility of traveling to almost every point in the world on a single ticket. The alternatives, opportunities and possibilities to be offered are going to clinch its identity as a global airline in the full sense of the word.

Turkish Airlines' accession to the Star Alliance is going to ensure its passengers important opportunities such as flying to more points around the world, earning and redeeming miles on other alliance-member airlines, numerous additional privileges in Business Class, and the opportunity to enjoy CIP Lounges and other distinctions.

By joining the alliance, Turkish Airlines, which already flies to 139 points on the European, American, Asian and African continents with a fleet of 101 airplanes, is going to offer its passengers more than 17,500 flights a day to 965 airports in 162 countries. Serving as a bridge between Europe and Asia, Turkish Airlines Istanbul headquarters is going to become a hub. By linking together several flight networks, Istanbul is not only going to become Star Alliance's gateway to the Middle East and Central Asia, but is also going to make flights possible to the new regions of Turkey.