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Star Alliance celebrates milestone and outlines future

October 12, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

When the Star Alliance celebrated its 20th anniversary on Tuesday evening with a large travel industry turnout at Vanto Italian Restaurant in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building, guests received a big hint about an important round-the-world fare development coming up early in the new year.

Richard Carret, Regions Director – Market Development from Star Alliance in Frankfurt attended the celebration.

Tim Clyde-Smith, who chairs the Star Alliance Country steering committee in Australia (as well as his role as country manager Australasia at South African Airways and chair of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia – BARA) spoke of Star Alliance plans for the future and said a major goal for Star was harnessing digital technology.

From left, Elizabeth Hutchinson (Air New Zealand), Julie Reid (United Airlines), Brett Walsh (All Nippon Airways , Sarah Constable (Air Canada), Tim Clyde-Smith (South African Airways), Neil Ford (Air Canada) and Graham Ware (South African Airways)

“Passengers today want more control over their journey, and they want to exercise that control whenever and wherever they desire,” Clyde-Smith said.

“That means instant updates and information that is relevant and personalised.

Star Alliance is working to deliver this through our ground-breaking IT Hub infrastructure – which we are using to create more integrated back-end services between our member airlines, and to build new digital applications.”

Clyde-Smith said Star’s IT Hub infrastructure was already:

  • Enabling Star Alliance to improve the reliability of through-check in for multi-carrier itineraries;
  • Ensuring faster crediting of accrued frequent flyer miles into customers’ accounts;
  • Allowing participants in any Star Alliance member airline’s frequent flyer program (FFP) to claim missing miles online through their own FFP website.

From left, Neil Ford (Air Canada), Trish Shepherd (Ensemble Travel) and Denise Dalton (Thai Airways).

“Our latest project is the Baggage Hub, which facilitates baggage message transfer between our member airlines, their ground handlers and the baggage handling systems at the airports,” he said.

“Now being rolled out across the network, it’s allowing our member airlines to keep their customers better informed on their luggage status.”

Star Alliance was not neglecting the well-established products and services that continue to serve travellers well, Clyde-Smith added.

“In fact, we are planning some changes to our RTW product that will make it even more attractive to your customers – I can’t say any more but look out for an announcement in the New Year.”

From left, Richard Carret (Star Alliance), Nigel Shroot (Egencia) and Tim Clyde-Smith (Star Alliance)

Clyde-Smith said the fact that an alliance of five airlines, formed back in 1997, had over the past 20 years not just remained strong and steadfast, but grown and evolved to now count 28 of the world’s leading carriers as members, ranked as a genuine achievement.

“During this time, the alliance has developed a network that is simply unrivalled in its ability to connect people and cultures – in fact to mark the 20th Anniversary we recently ran a worldwide competition in which Star Alliance customers were asked to share photos of their favourite cultural experiences for the chance to win a million frequent flyer miles.

“I encourage you to visit our website and explore the map we have put together showing the entries we received from around the globe – they perfectly illustrate the strength of the human and cultural connections that are really only possible with a network as vast as Star Alliance’s.”

The Singapore Airlines team. From left: Frederick Lee, Adam Kelly, Matthew Kershaw, David Browne and Chin Yu Tan.

Clyde-Smith recalled that back in 1997, when Star Alliance came together, Apple was going through a tough time and technology leaders lined up to predict the company’s demise. In fact, at the time, when asked what he would do with Apple, Michael Dell, founder and chief executive of Dell Inc, said: ‘I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.’

“Today Apple is the world’s most profitable company,” Clyde-Smith reminded his audience.

“You might recall that 1997 was also the year that Dolly, the world’s first adult sheep clone, was unveiled,” he said. “Not long afterwards, some very eminent scientists were predicting that within 10 years headless human clones would be used to grow organs and tissues for transplant surgery.

Star Alliance festivities on Tuesday evening

“Pretty sure that’s not happening.

“And finally, in 1997, when asked by CNN about his political aspirations, New York property developer Donald Trump said this: ‘I think I’m almost too honest to be a politician.’

“You see, you can’t always get it right.”

Written by Peter Needham

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