Virgin Australia has poured cold water on speculation that it's planning to join the Star Alliance group of airlines, with CEO John Borghetti suggesting that, if anything, SkyTeam could be a better fit.
Although Virgin shareholder Air New Zealand and partner Singapore Airlines both belong to Star, this doesn't make that alliance a fait accompli, Borghetti told The Australian.
"It's wrong to assume Star is the obvious choice" he said, citing that Virgin's US partner Delta Air Lines "is in Sky Team and Sky Team is a very formidable group, and I think Delta are terrific partners."
But Borghetti says he has no intention of joining a global alliance right now, echoing his comments to Australian Business Traveller in mid-2011, when he told us "You know, we've got so much stuff going on at Virgin Australia that that is really not in our thinking at the moment. That is something we'll think about in 2012 and beyond."
"Beyond" appears the operative word now, with Borghetti even questioning the need to sign up with any alliance while he continues to build Virgin's own 'virtual international network' by mixing and matching airlines according to a simpler 'best fit' rule.
"There's no question that cross-border mergers are happening and you wonder whether that's going to impact on those alliances" Borghetti told The Australian. "And there are more and more bilaterals being concluded just like we've done between partners which don't restrict your ability to work with people."
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.