Cathay seen near to joining global airline alliance

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 September, 1998, 12:00am

Cathay Pacific Airways is reportedly preparing to sign next week with British Airways, American Airlines and Qantas Airways in a global bloc to rival the Star Alliance.

The four airlines are planning a joint announcement in London on Monday, a report in the Australian Financial Review said.

A Cathay spokesman said: 'We are studying the possibility of joining one of the global airline alliances, that's no big secret, as our chairman has said as much several times already.

'But we have nothing to announce right now.' The report also claimed the announcement was originally scheduled to be revealed later this month, but was pushed up to counter recent developments with competing airline partnerships, especially at regional rivals Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand.

The report also named Canadian Airlines and Japan Airlines as possible members of the BA-led alliance.

Earlier reports said BA could take an equity stake in Cathay.

Meanwhile, Cathay has joined Air Canada's price war on some Canadian routes.

Air Canada began slashing fares by up to 70 per cent earlier this week to entice passengers following a two-week pilot strike.

Cathay said it would match Air Canada's C$899 (about HK$4,566) fare - about 50 per cent off the regular fare - for round-trips from Vancouver to Hong Kong until September 23.