Check out Wendy Perrin’s recent interview with Sir Richard Branson. The most interesting part of the discussion was Richard Branson saying he would "seriosuly consider" launching a fourth airline alliance.
The pickings are becoming slimmer as the "big three" continue to scoop up the unaffiliated, but if he could combine the Virign group with holdouts like Emirates, Malaysia, and El-Al, we’re looking at an alliance that will quickly outshine SkyTeam (obviously an Israeli-Arab alliance might be untenable).
And think of the potential new holy grail of mileage redemption: a trip on Virgin Galactic.
If this happens, perhaps each of the big 4 alliances could associate with one of the big 4 accounting firms. I’m sure Deloitte is looking for a new airline to contract with after dropping United.
However I wonder if this possible alliance can compete in US markets? How many domestic flights can the average domestic business traveller expect to book on these limited airlines?
Quite simply, this alliance could not compete in the US market if they relied only on legacy carriers. Really the only way to piece together a US presence would be a weird alliance with Alaska and JetBlue (since they would not want US to be the member for the US), which I doubt would happen. More likely I see if they start moving forward that LH will make some sort of offer that Virgin Atlantic can’t refuse.
@David: You sound like an accountant!
Your second comment is a good one, though. I could see Virgin America, Frontier, Midwest, Alaska, WestJet or Porter, and perhaps even Jet Blue (though LH might veto that) join, which would make it the alliance very strong in North America.
@mowogo: We’ll see what Lufty does. It wouldn’t surprise me if they made a move on VS.