Morphological Study of Strategic Airline Alliances

Special Report: Varia 2006
By Laurence Saglietto, Denise Lévy

The aim of this article is the analysis of the variety of managerial structures of large strategic airline alliances. The paper contains three parts. First, we present a definition of global airlines alliances following an organisation science approach. We then note that alliances can be assimilated to social networks. This allows us to extand our understanding of alliances using a different approach which involves three important concepts: connectivity (the interconnection of infrastructures and the informative interconnection of networks), relational cohesion (the commercial commitments of companies and financial participation) and exclusivity (“neighbourhood” and relations between alliances). At last, we present the results of an empirical study which reveals several aspects of the structure of those alliances: topologic analysis, central companies, life cycle of alliances, “coopetition” relations…

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