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27/10/2009 – Continental Airlines Joins Star Alliance
Its been quite some time in the making, but as the sun rises over Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) this morning the former Continental Airlines SkyTeam alliance logos have been taken down and a shiny Boeing 757 sits in a hanger painted in the new Star Alliance logo livery awaiting to be unveiled at 11:00am EST.
This change in airline alliances completely changes the landscape of America airline partnerships in the United States. One year ago today the SkyTeam airline alliance counted three US airlines as their members, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines, while Star Alliance had two member carriers in the US, United Airlines and US Airways.
Today as traveller’s head out to the airport to board their flights SkyTeam is left with only one single airline in the US while Star Alliance has moved to three airlines. Travellers with SkyTeam have one choice, Delta Airlines…as they merged with Northwest Airlines, and Star Alliance now has three carriers in the US, United Airlines, US Airways and Continental Airlines.
For flyers in the Northeast Star Alliance is now the dominant alliance, with major hubs in Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Washington/Dulles (IAD), and ‘focus’ airports in Washington/Reagan-National (DCA) and New York/La Guardia (LGA).
For Continental flyers on the West Coast this shift to Star Alliance means the ending of a code-share agreement with Alaska Airlines and the beginning of a code-share agreement with United Airlines.
Interestingly, Continental Airlines becoming closely intertwined with United Airlines is a return to the roots of both airlines. Walter Varney founded both airlines, Varney Airlines was founded in 1926 and Varney Speed Lines was founded in 1934, eventually these airlines became United Airlines in 1931 and Continental Airlines in 1937.
It’s interesting to watch the industry landscape change in front of your eyes…