South African Airways recently celebrated a decade as a member of Star Alliance, the world’s longest serving and most experienced global airline alliance. SAA was the first African airline to join the global network in 2006, providing other Alliance partners access to SAA’s extensive route network within South Africa and into the rest of the African continent. “South African Airways gave Star Alliance a first and strategic/prominent foothold in Africa, which today is recognised as one of the most significant growth markets for international trade and aviation,” says Star Alliance CEO, Mark Schwab. Star Alliance was founded with five member airlines in 1997. Today its membership totals 28, including three strong airlines in Africa. SAA’s membership in the Alliance offers its customers a host of advantages, ranging from access to the extended (Alliance) global network to worldwide benefits such as lounge access for passengers travelling in Business Class or with Voyager Lifetime Platinum, Platinum, or Gold status, which equates to Star Alliance Gold status. “Star Alliance members offer our customers the assurance that when they fly with SAA, or any of the member airlines, they fly with airlines that adhere to certain standards as part of their high value offering to the customers they serve,” says Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson. “Our decade-long membership is a major achievement and the anniversary comes at a time where the Alliance has reached a high level of maturity. We remain focused on increasing our participation in the Alliance to ensure that we extract the fullest possible value from our membership for our airline and for our customers,” says Tlali. Member airlines of the Alliance, offer an agreed set of aligned customer benefits and products at defined quality standards across the entire network. The member airlines’ success in satisfying their customers is measured on a regular basis, in part by the use of an on-line survey mailed to frequent flyers, calling for feedback on overall satisfaction of their travel experience, including on customer touch points such as boarding, departure, baggage handling and other services. “The project continually analyses customer satisfaction regarding all products and services of Star Alliance along the travel experience (as well as the individual performance of each member airline) and customers’ fulfilment of the Star Alliance promise,” elaborates Tlali. In addition, there are other compliance requirements to ensure that SAA and other member carriers comply with various high and strict safety, maintenance, and passenger service standards, and other requirements set by the international regulatory organisations such as IATA.