THY Turkish Airlines has finally made its alliance decision, opting to join the Star Alliance rather than SkyTeam. The Turkish airline is now in formal talks with Star, having been accepted in principle by all the alliance's members.

Jan Albrecht, Star's chief, says: "From our side, the Turkish home market is a big attraction. There is also a mix of leisure, ethnic and business traffic which is a nice combination and should help smooth out the peaks and troughs."

He adds THY can offer a regional network covering the Middle East and offering connections as far as the Indian subcontinent. He describes the carrier's network as "much more formidable" than Royal Jordanian, which is in the process of joining oneworld as the latter's first Middle Eastern representative.

THY originally announced back in 2004 that it wanted to join an alliance and held meetings with both Star and SkyTeam in the second half of 2005 as it narrowed down its choice. The carrier says it based its choice on Star's "competitive edge, material benefits, wider global reach and the contribution it will make to the other medium and long-term objectives of the company".

THY will become Star's 21st carrier once negotiations are finalised. Air China and Shanghai Airlines are also in the process of joining, but negotiations with them have already concluded and they will formally join next year. ■

Source: Airline Business