EgyptAir will be the next carrier to join Star Alliance, the airline group has announced.

It said that EgyptAir has undergone a "significant transformation process" in the last five years, making it one of the foremost carriers in Africa and the Middle East.

Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance, stressed the significance of the development, saying that Egypt is one of Africa's most important markets, with a large potential for both business and leisure travel.

He added: "EgyptAir provides an ideal network fit for Star Alliance and will permit many more passengers to experience the alliance's customer benefits especially in markets in which Star Alliance was up to now under-represented."

Engineer Atef Abdel Hamid, chairman and CEO of EgyptAir, said that the carrier's Star Alliance membership will offer a range of benefits to its customers, including a wider range of destinations and frequent flyer advantages on all other member airlines.

EgyptAir and all other Star Alliance carriers flying to Cairo airport will use the hub's new third terminal once it opens in 2008.

Other members of the airline group include bmi, Lufthansa, Swiss and US Airways.

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EgyptAir Joins Star Alliance