Asiana, LOT and Spanair to join Star Alliance

The Star Alliance has confirmed that three more carriers will join it over the coming year, taking it to 17 members. The new members of the world's largest airline grouping will be South Korea's Asiana Airlines, Polish carrier LOT and Spanish airline Spanair, in which SAS owns a majority share. The alliance decided at a meeting in Shanghai last week to start preparations to integrate the airlines over the next 6-12 months although no formal entry dates were agreed. Asiana, which already flies code-share with Star member ANA, will improve the group's coverage of North Asia. LOT will act as a door-opener to large parts of central and eastern Europe while Spanair is the main competitor to Iberia in Spain. Air China, which co-operates closely with Lufthansa, remains a medium-term candidate for membership.