The Star Alliance has announced they will be taking on a new non-airline partner but have yet to reveal their choice.

An “Intermodal” Alliance

This week marks 25 years since the Star Alliance was first formed. When the group was founded in 1997, it had five members: Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, and Thai Airways. Today the alliance has 26 airline members and two “connecting partners”: Juneyao Airlines and Thai Smile. The group collaborates on codeshares, flight lounges, IT solutions, and more. The group is the largest of the three airline alliances but is still looking to expand its horizons.

Star Alliance Livery
The Star Alliance is the largest of the three airline alliances | Your Mileage May Vary

“We looked at how we can further improve and strengthen our network,” said Star Alliance Boss Jeffrey Goh in an interview with Journalists on Thursday, “That is why we are now also working on an intermodal partnership model”. Intermodal refers to different modes of transport used on the same journey, for example, taking a train from the airport. In the same interview, Goh announced:

“We will shortly present our first intermodal partner, which we will integrate into the Star Alliance.”

Who Will the New Partner Be?

The new partner has not been revealed yet, but Goh has dropped some hints as to who the new partner could be. First off, he told journalists that “it will be a European company” but said he could not yet reveal the country of origin. When asked by aeroTELEGRAPH whether it would be with a rail company, he didn’t confirm but stated:

“I think you’re not far off.”

SWISS A321 star alliance member
SWISS Airbus A321 | @ Andrea Ongaro / Travel Radar

A rail company seems a likely choice for the alliance. This week, Star Alliance member SWISS announced they would be working with the Swiss Federal Railways to add a train connection between Munich central station and Zurich airport.

Who do you think the new Star Alliance member will be? Let us know in the comments below!

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