United boss tips more airline deals outside alliances

United boss tips more airline deals outside alliances

Fewer commercial deals will be done within airline alliances as carriers form individual partnerships and joint ventures, according to a leading executive.

Speaking at the Business Travel Market Knowledge Forum in London, United Airlines UK managing director of sales Bob Schumacher said: “We are beginning to see the fracturing of alliances when it comes to putting business deals together.

“The customer will still be identifying with the alliance but the commercial linkage is far more widespread and will continue to be so.”

Schumacher cited the example of Qantas, which is no longer in a code-share partnership with oneworld partner British Airways, but has formed a new tie-up with non-affiliated Emirates.

However, he ruled out the extension of joint ventures to multiple mergers to create giant carriers which would reduce competition.

“The monolith world carrier isn’t going to happen,” he insisted.

Schumacher also said United had no current plans to add capacity on UK routes, saying supply and demand was “largely right”.

“At the moment we are in a holding pattern. We are not going to provision extra seats here until we see stronger growth,” he said.

“We are no longer fighting for market share, we are a business which need to deliver a return on invested capital.”

The BTM Knowledge Forum was the first in a series of events from Business Travel Market, which takes place alongside World Travel Market at London’s ExCel in November.


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