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What is an Airline Alliance, What Do They Do?

Posted on September 06, 2021
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What is an Airline Alliance?

It is simply an agreement among airlines to cooperate in sharing resources, extending routes, and even offering redeemable rewards as per the airline’s policies.

We all may have benefited from the Alliances in one way or another. For example, when booking a flight from Mombasa(MBA) to Chicago(ORD) with Kenya Airways. Kenya Airways has no direct flight to Chicago but you’ll notice the “Operated by Delta Airlines” in the flight to Chicago.

Well, that is mainly because Kenya Airways and Delta Airlines are both members of the SkyTeam(Other reason for this is code sharing). That is one of the greatest benefits of alliances, you can book to a destination not covered by the airline and still get the flights.

Airline Alliances…

The 3 main alliances are Star Alliance, One World, and SkyTeam.

Star Alliance

It was founded on May 14th, 1997 by Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, Thai Airways International, and United Airlines.

The Alliance received its first reward in 2002 as the best Alliance in the U.S by Business Traveller Magazine.

Since then, the alliance has grown to have 26 member airlines and almost 195 destination countries (1300 destinations worldwide)

You may have noticed some airlines livery are of the alliances they belong to:

star alliance

One World

The alliance was founded in February 1999 and has grown to have 14 member airlines. Some of the famous member airlines are Qatar, American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas.

The alliance now serves over 1000 destinations globally in more than 170 destination countries. The latest member to join the alliance is Alaska, in 2021.

one world finnair

Sky Team

The alliance was founded in June, 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air.

The alliance has now 19 member airlines including Kenya Airways. It also has 1,036 destinations in 170 countries.

It also has 1,036 destinations in 170 countries.

Airchine skyteam


While most airlines enjoy the benefits of alliances, some airlines prefer to go solo like Emirates and Etihad.

author image, Chris Achinga
Chris Achinga
the next captain
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