Star Alliance is set to expand its network reach with the launch of its Connecting Partner Model. Under this new concept, routes operated by “low-cost” and “hybrid” airlines will be able to connect to the Alliance network. This will allow customers of Star Alliance member carriers to select from an even wider choice of destinations and flights.
Innovative and multi-award winning South African low-cost airline Mango has been selected as the first airline with which Star Alliance will be implementing the new concept.
“We are delighted to be working with Mango as we marry traditional and low-cost or hybrid airlines for the first time in our Alliance’s history. The airline’s innovative and progressive style makes it an ideal candidate for launching our new Connecting Partner concept. We aim to have first customers using this new offer as of the third quarter of 2016,” adds Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance.
Mango’s first flight took to the skies on November 15th, 2006. Since then, the airline has grown its fleet from four to 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operating between South Africa’s key domestic points as well as between Johannesburg and Zanzibar. The carrier remains the only African airline to offer on-board Wi-Fi. In addition, Mango has been recognised for its Customer Service Excellence by various awards, including the World Travel Awards and Skytrax.
“Innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence are the cornerstones of Mango and fundamental to our culture as a business,” says Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. Mango celebrates a decade in aviation next year and the carrier has recently become the largest low-cost airline in South Africa by passenger volume. “Participation in the development of, and ultimately becoming the launch Star Alliance Connecting Partner airline, wedges-in with our medium to long term business objectives,” he added.
Bezuidenhout said that while the Connecting Partner product flies in the face of convention, the common ground for the concept relates directly to the bottom line. “Becoming a Connecting Partner will give any low-cost or hybrid airline a competitive advantage that immediately grows market share while creating greater choice for travellers,” he said.