In an effort to pull in business class customers for its international routes, All Nippon Airways Co. will join the Star Alliance, a multilateral strategic linkup of international carriers, next October, ANA officials said Thursday.The alliance is made up of Air Canada, Lufthansa German Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System, Thai Airways International, United Airlines and Varig Brazilian Airlines. Air New Zealand and Ansett Australia are expected to join next year. “By establishing a broader network and offering seamless service covering the world, we can improve the convenience of customers, especially business customers who frequently travel worldwide,” Kazuhisa Shin, senior vice president of ANA, told a news conference.Under the planned alliance, ANA will jointly offer frequent flier programs and through-check-in services with fellow alliance members. Those who fly in business class will be able to use the airport lounges of other member carriers, and flight connections with those carriers will be improved.ANA estimates it will take about a year to complete negotiations on those matters with individual alliance members. Of the alliance members, ANA has closer ties with Lufthansa and UA because it will conduct code-sharing operations with them. Under this arrangement, the carriers will sell tickets of their partner airlines.ANA hopes that joining the alliance and the code-sharing operations will increase its sales in international services by 8 billion yen to 10 billion yen a year by the end of fiscal 2000. The carrier’s annual international sales total about 180 billion yen.

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