Taiwan's EVA Air joins biggest airline alliance

PHOTO: Taiwan's EVA Air joins biggest airline alliance

TAOYUAN, TAIWAN - Taiwan's EVA Airways joined Star Alliance, the world's biggest airline grouping, on Tuesday in a move that could give it an edge over regional rivals like China Airlines.

"EVA Air has successfully completed all joining requirements and I can confirm that our chief executive board has unanimously accepted EVA Air into our alliance," Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab announced at a ceremony in the north of the island.

The move could see an increase in the carrier's occupancy rate by up to three percentage points, according to chairman Chang Kuo-wei, as passengers benefit from greater integration with leading airlines.

It took EVA Air a year and a half to meet the alliance's requirements, including the adjustment of its computer systems to enable passengers to use air miles earned through other alliance members.

The Taiwan airline said in an e-mail message that it was renaming its passenger-loyalty programme, originally known as the Evergreen Club, Infinity MileageLands.

It assured passengers that they will be able to earn miles on the 25 carriers in the Star Alliance.

In March last year, an EVA executive said joining the grouping would give the carrier an advantage over China Airlines, which belongs to the smaller Sky Team alliance.

EVA, Taiwan's second-largest airline, becomes the 28th member of the Star Alliance, which includes carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Thai Airways International, United Airlines and Air Canada.