Barcelona-based Spanair, a Star Alliance Member, has ceased operations effective 27 January 2011. The struggling carrier has fought to stay afloat recently, but after a recent round of talks with Qatar Airways failed to produce an investment agreement, the Spanish government announced this afternoon that the carrier wold be halting operations immediately. With no infusion of cash from Qatar, the Catalonian government determined they could no longer afford to prop up the carrier, blaming the “current economic climate” and “European legislation concerning competition.”
Does this mark the end of Spanair? Likely. The carrier has been kept afloat by government funding and has never recovered from a deadly 2008 crash that killed 154 people.
What if you have tickets on Spanair? No need to panic just yet--
The Ministry of Development also published a statement requiring Spanair to “fulfill its obligations with passengers” adding it was coordinating “alternative transport.”
Spanair's departure from Star Alliance leaves a hole in the Iberian peninsula, but also a chance for carriers like TAP and Lufthansa to bolster their service. Iberia, a member of the oneworld alliance, will also likely step in to fill the void left by Spanair.
For the 4,000 employees of Spanair, some of whom I had the chance to work with and get to know on various Star Alliance projects last year, I offer my condolences.