Press Release 2006, Member airlines
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- 21 Dec 2006
Viação Aérea Rio-Grandense S.A. (VARIG Brazilian Airlines or “old” VARIG) will no longer be a member of Star Alliance as of 31 January 2007. This decision was prompted by the current restructuring of the airline in which “old” VARIG continued to be a Star Alliance member, operating a reduced flight schedule on behalf of a new company, VRG Linhas Aéreas S.A. (“New” VARIG).
With “new” VARIG now having been granted an official air operator’s certificate (CHETA - Certificado de Homologação de Empresa de Transporte Aéreo) by the Brazilian authorities, “old” VARIG will in future no longer fulfil the pre-requisites for Star Alliance membership.
“In order to deliver the Star Alliance benefits, products and services to customers around the globe on a consistent basis, our member carriers work to certain standards and processes. Unfortunately, “old” VARIG will no longer operate as a network airline and will therefore have to give up its membership in the alliance”, said Jaan Albrecht, Star Alliance CEO.
Star Alliance and its member carriers will ensure that the impact of this decision on international travellers will be kept to a minimum.
“Star Alliance continues to offer the most intercontinental flights serving more cities in Brazil than any other alliance and will continue to expand its services in this important and growing aviation market”, Jaan Albrecht added.
Star Alliance member carriers Air Canada, Lufthansa, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal and United together provide more than 270 weekly flights to Africa, Europe and North America from six destinations in Brazil. In parallel the alliance is exploring various options to secure a wider presence in the region.
Note to editor:
Star Alliance member airlines will continue to grant VARIG’s Smiles card holders with Star Alliance Gold or Star Alliance Silver Status the following privileges when travelling on any of their flights until the end of January 2007:
Star Alliance Gold members can make use of separate check-in desks.
Star Alliance Gold and Star Alliance Silver members receive priority waitlisting if the desired flight is already fully booked.
Priority Airport Standby
Star Alliance Gold and Star Alliance Silver members receive priority standby listing if they arrive at the airport without any reservation for a specific flight (subject to local regulations).
Star Alliance Gold members have access to more than 660 lounges at airports around the world.
Priority Baggage Tags
Star Alliance Gold members are entitled to priority baggage service across the network.
Increased Baggage Allowance
Star Alliance Gold customers are entitled to one additional piece of checked baggage (piece concept) or an additional 20 kilos (weight concept).
About Star Alliance
The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers worldwide reach and a smooth travel experience. Star Alliance was voted Best Airline Alliance by Business Traveller Magazine in 2003 and 2006 and by Skytrax in 2003 and 2005. The members are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, THAI, United, US Airways and VARIG Brazilian Airlines. Regional member carriers Adria Airways (Slovenia), Blue1 (Finland) and Croatia Airlines enhance the global network. Air China, Shanghai Airlines and Turkish Airlines have been accepted as future members and are expected to join Star Alliance during the course of the next one to two years. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 16,000 daily flights to 841 destinations in 157 countries.