All Nippon Airways (ANA) has signed its codesharing agreements with Lufthansa and United Airlines, suggesting that it may now join their Star Alliance. At the same time, the airline's pilots are to suspend their strike action.

Under the new alliances, ANA will codeshare on 11 routes to the USA and on another eight weekly flights to Germany, with further links in Europe pending regulatory approvals. The Japanese airline says the deals will save it some ´5 billion ($55 million)a year.

A place in the six-strong Star alliance is also in prospect. "We have already linked up with the alliance's two most important partners, but our immediate priority is to undo the damage caused by the pilot's strike," says ANA.

The aircrew halted their two-week strike on 20 April, ahead of Japan's key holiday week which began on 29 April. They say, however, that they will resume their strike action if the salary dispute is not resolved by then.

Airline analysts believe that a resumption of action is unlikely, however, given ANA's refusal to budge on the wage issue and the financial damage already caused. ANA estimates that the strike has cost close to ´4 billion.

Source: Flight International