The national carrier Air India on Friday said it is set to join Star Alliance, the leading global alliance of 28 top international carriers.
“Star Alliance has unanimously decided to lift the earlier suspension of the process for Air India entry into the Alliance. With this decision, final process for eventual entry of Air India has begun,” the airline said in a statment.
In a decision taken on Friday in Vienna, the airline is hopeful that the decision will prove beneficial for the passengers.
“Air India passengers will enjoy enormous benefits, including seamless transfers while travelling across the world, more frequent flyer mileage points, code-sharing leading to a wider choice of flights and access to facilities at over 1,000 lounges worldwide,” said the airline.
The proposal of Air India’s inclusion in the The Allinace was kept on hold since July 2011 on the grounds that the airline had not fulfilled major conditions to join it. According to reports, Jet Airways was also vying with Air India to join the grouping.
Established in 1997, the Star Alliance network offers 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.
In order to become a member, an airline is required to meet and comply with the highest standards of customer service, security and technical infrastructure in the industry. SkyTeam Alliance and OneWorld are the other alliances.
“It’s a good news for Air India and passengers. Credit should be given to the airline for the continous persual and engaging with the Star Alliance,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO South Asia, Center of Asia Pacific of Aviation (CAPA).
Passengers will definietly benefit out of this with enhanced global and seamless network. It will surely add value for Air India as well for the industry. It may also help in increasing traffic,” he said.
The integration process is expected to take three months. It would also involve integration of an airline’s flight network, ticket booking systems, matching of frequent flyer programmes and access to lounges in home countries of the airline. Passengers automatically get the alliance benefits on travelling on the member airline.
The present members include Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines , Croatia Airlines , EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Eva Air, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and TAM Airlines.