Cooperation of various carriers through membership in the so-called airline alliances is one the most distinct features of modern-day airline industry. By now around 70 percent of the global market share is controlled by the carriers of one of the three major alliances – oneworld, Skyteam and Star Alliance. One must note that airlines have resorted to forming alliances because it is a flexible organizational form which allows for an increase in network coverage, thus offering a potential for rapid growth within a rigid international regulatory framework. This paper seeks to analyze operational and legal factors that shape the paradigm of alliancing behavior. Those two groups of factors or stimuli are inherently interwoven. The scrutiny covers various considerations of engagement into a mutually interdependent relationship from the resource-based perspective. The argument runs that a protectionist regulatory setup forces carriers into such relationships, adding another layer of complexity into managerial decisions of alliance members and at the same time underlines the need for cooperation. The key issue therefore is how to operate in an alliance environment and whether it would be possible to survive without any form of cooperation with other carriers.