Global airline alliances emerge as powerful forces

A decade ago, global airline alliances tended to be marketing agreements that received little attention from travelers. Star Alliance, SkyTeam and Oneworld have bolstered the idea of airline alliances as they offer travelers streamlined access to the world and become dominant forces in the industry. "To continue to grow, airlines have to expand abroad, but it's impractical and, in some cases, impossible for carriers to do much expansion on their own. That's why we've seen the alliances become so popular," said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst at Forrester Research.

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