Star Alliance Executive board met in London yesterday and has approved the Air India’s joining the alliance that is expected to happen by mid-July (July 11, 2014 is the most likely date).
The airline was set to join the alliance in 2012 but the joining was blocked supposedly by Lufthansa at the very last minute that caused uproar in India.
The airlines must have had a second thought after Oneworld can siphon their traffic to India via Qatar Airways that became part of the alliance late last year. Emirates and Etihad are also vacuuming India destined traffic from most European gateways.
Here are some tidbits from the Economic Times article:
NEW DELHI: In a significant move, Air India has formally become part of the global airlines’ grouping, Star Alliance, which would enable seamless travel to over 1300 destinations for the national carrier’s passengers.
Ending a seven-year-long wait, the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board ( CEB), at its meeting in London yesterday, gave an endorsement vote to induct Air India into the fold.
“We are happy to note that Air India has become part of the Star Alliance. This is one of the biggest alliances in the world”, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters here today.
Air India’s revenues may increase by 4-5 per cent by joining the Alliance, he said.
Here’s the airline info card from Star Alliance:
Here’s the airlines route map from Delhi:
Oneworld is able to serve numerous Indian destinations via Qatar Airways hub in Doha and on SriLankan Airlines from Colombo. Kingfisher was supposed to join the Oneworld before the airline went under.
Air India is the first Indian airline to join any alliance. It is interesting to see where Jet Airways will end, although it is now partially owned by Etihad that may prevent it from joining any of the alliances.
I have never flown on Air India but once had terrible international to international experience at the Mumbai where it took an hour and a half to clear extremely chaotic transfer security when I arrived on South African Airways from Johannesburg and was continuing to Bangkok on Thai.