Star Alliance not keen on Gulf carriers, says CEO

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The Star Alliance airline group is not keen on pursuing potential members in the Gulf, a region that it says is already well served by its members.

"Our members offer good service in and out of the Gulf region already," says Star Alliance chief executive Mark Schwab, when asked if the airline group was targeting carriers in the Gulf.

Schwab, speaking at a ceremony to mark Avianca-Taca's membership in Star, says the alliance is actively looking for members in countries not represented in Star, such as India and Russia. Air India was slated to become a Star member but its integration into the alliance was suspended following the airline's failure to meet membership requirements.

Asian carriers Shenzhen Airlines and Eva Air are in the process of joining Star.

None of the three major Gulf carriers - Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways - are members in any of the three global airline alliances. Relations between Emirates and the airline alliances have been thorny, with the Gulf carrier accusing the alliances of being anti-competitive. The alliances have been dismissive of Emirates' charge, saying that the Gulf carriers operate with a different business model and are not subject to the same regulatory pressures faced by airlines in other parts of the world.