Airline alliances are the way forward, industry experts say, despite a growing focus on joint ventures and bilateral agreements refinement in the aviation sector.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Aviation Festival Asia held at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, airline honchos affirmed their belief in the benefits of such partnerships.
(From left) Air France's Bas Gerressen, Hawaiian Airlines' Chock, Changi Airport Group's Lim and Jet Airways' Mansukhani
Narendra Mansukhani, head of guest experience, Jet Airways, stressed that while airlines can grow on their own, they may not be able to reach their full potential organically with the considerable investment and expertise needed in deployment to new territories and market conditions.
“In our experience, (Jet Airways) has only grown over the years with alliances and codeshares. Alliances help the group as a whole because if an organisation of a group survives, everything else moves up,” said Mansukhani, who added that alliances have led to seven to eight per cent more traffic for the carrier.
Lim Ching Kiat, managing director of airhub development, Changi Airport Group, opined that it comes down to meaningful partnerships – which can exist beyond the boundaries of alliances.
“Increasingly, we see cooperation between full-service carriers and LCCs that don’t belong to any alliance. We see many European airlines working and interlining with Jetstar Asia in Singapore, which is not just across alliances but across business models,” said Lim.
Michael Chock, senior director alliances and airline partnerships, Hawaiian Airlines, agreed: “There’s not one alliance that fits all business models or necessarily all networks, whether it's SkyTeam, Oneworld or Star Alliance. I think you really need to determine how you fit the alliance into your overall business model. For a carrier like Hawaiian (without an alliance), it’s about how you co-exist with airlines that are members of a global alliance.”