Star Alliance, the global airline association, on Monday said there were opportunities to expand its network in the Philippines but not to the extent of adding the country’s flag carrier as a member.
“I would not say that we see Philippine Airlines (PAL) as a prospective new member,” Star Alliance chief operating office Jeffrey Goh told reporters in a press briefing in Makati.
Goh, who was in town to announce that members of the alliance were now running flights to the Philippines, said a main consideration was that adding a carrier should also be advantageous to existing members.
“We have hopeful members knocking on our doors and our analysis had to make sure that it is positive for all our current members,” he said.
Representatives of PAL, which has expressed interest in joining an airline alliance, were not immediately available for comment.
Goh explained that at the end of the day, the addition of new member should bring positive opportunities for the rest of the alliance either by expanding the network or adding bringing in more frequent fliers.
“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 asked
In the Philippines, he said the opportunity appeared to be in the budget carrier sector.
“Manila isn’t the center of the earth but there is market opportunity of a network to grow. Philippines has shown that there is a market here in a way especially in the budget air sector,” he said.
Star Alliance flies to 192 countries and 13,330 airports.
Currently Star Alliance has 28 member airlines of which 9 serve Manila: Air China, ANA, Asiana, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United.