The annual Christmas lunch hosted by the Star Alliance in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, is always a most enjoyable event. After 10 years in the Chair, Alan Sparling stood down and the incoming Chair is Bob Schumacher from United Airlines. Alan gave his annual State of the Star Alliance speech, full of airline statistics.
Responding, Cormac Meehan, ITAA President, paid tribute to Alan: “As Alan mentioned, next year the Star Alliance will celebrate its 20th birthday. The strap line ‘The Way the World Connects’ is very apt with 28 airline members, over 4,000 aircraft, serving 1,300 airports in 194 countries. Its members carry close to 650 million passengers annually on more than 18,000 daily departures. There are very few places on this planet that this group cannot take you to.
“Today, we are told that Alan is stepping down after 10 very successful years in the Chair. Thank you for your leadership, your renowned attention to detail and your courtesy to the trade. You are an excellent ambassador for your company, your airlines and your members. The predictive text on my phone always throws up either ‘sparkling’ or ‘starring’ when I input your name! Either adjective is appropriate, but truly ‘sparkling’ is the one we in the business can resonate with.”