Airline Choices for the Future: from Alliances to Mergers
The Air France-KLM merger, followed suit by the Lufthansa-Swiss merger announcement and the agreement of a new transatlantic air transport accord, has changed the landscape of air transport and set the foundation stone towards air transport consolidation. Once considered a remote eventuality, cross-border mergers and the potential they represent have become a concrete possible source of competitive advantage in the search of efficiencies and synergies in a highly competitive and volatile air transport arena. The present paper attempts to assess how the members of the three strategic alliances (Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam) perceive alliance evolution and merger prospects under the impact of these developments. Through a questionnaire survey the paper analyzes how airlines themselves view mergers, what benefits mergers can offer as well as the obstacles they might encounter and in which areas these benefits and/or problems could arise. It further to assess how fast consolidation will move, what role alliances will play in the emerging restructured air transport industry and how alliances and mergers will interact. As it is the very first survey to focus on and analyze cross-border mergers from the industry’s point of view, its findings will be of interest not only to the industry itself but to governments, competition authorities, academics and to all those directly or indirectly involved in and/or influenced by developments in air transport.
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