Low Cost Carrier Alliances
Airline Alliances have traditionally been for the traditional national carriers, however, recently the low cost carrier airlines have begun to form their own alliances.
At the beginning of 2016 the first ever low cost carrier (LCC) alliance was formed by HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air, and West Air, named the U-FLY Alliance. However, this is at this stage a purely Chinese based alliance, and all members are affiliates of China’s fourth largest airline, Hainan Airlines.
However, in May 2016, the first true LCC Alliance was formed, when 8 LCC airlines from Japan, South Korea, South East Asia and Australia joined to form the Value Alliance. The full list of members is shown below.
At this stage the cross alliance benefits are limited. The alliance’s own website describes them as follows – “Powered by ABB’s revolutionary web technology, travellers will be able to book flights offered by any Value Alliance partner at the most competitive fare when they visit any member website. While doing so, they can also select from the full range of service options in a single transaction”
Going forward though we can expect to see more benefits when travelling with various members of the alliance. The world’s other LCCs are likely to all be watching with interest to see how things develop with the Value Alliance.
If there proves to be benefit to belonging in the alliance we will soon see the formation of new alliances around the world. Most notably in Europe, where airlines like Easyjet, Ryanair, Norwegian Wizz Air and Pegasus have experienced massive growth in the last decade. North America is another region ripe for an alliance, where LCCs from the USA, Canada and Mexico could combine to provide coverage across most of the continent.
With the likes of Air Asia X, Jetsar and Norwegian all offering long-haul flights, truly global LCC alliances are definitely also on the cards!