Air India To Be Inducted As Newest Star Alliance Member
Tuesday, 24th June 2014 at 04:39am
The flag carrier will officially mark its induction to the roster of Star Alliance members next month, specifically on July 11. By then, it will be the alliance's 27th full-member airline and 52nd overall.
The induction ceremony will mark the official membership of Air India to the world's first and largest airline grouping which was founded on May 1997 when major carriers from 3 continents, namely, Air Canada, Scandinavian Airlines, United Airlines and Thai Airways International joined forces to form an alliance.
During its induction ceremony, Air India will have its Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A320 aircraft decked with the logo and livery of Star Alliance.
The country's Civil Aviation Minister, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, is very optimistic on the flag carrier's official induction as the newest member of the alliance, saying it (membership) will help revitalize its loss-making performance and hopefully return to profitability through alliance-based bookings.
The accession will also mean additional perks to Air India's Flying Returns members, as they will now share frequent flyer benefits with other member airlines flying within the alliance's network of 1,269 destinations across five continents, representing 193 countries. These include, among others, reciprocated earning and redeeming of points, as well as access to lounges of other fellow member airlines.
Air India started to process its application for membership with Star Alliance in 2007 yet only to be suspended in 2011 due to the airline's failure to comply some of the alliance's standard requirements.
The alliance sent an invitation to the state-owned carrier to reapply in December last year which the airline gladly accepted. The alliance's own CEO, Mark Schwab, remarked that the airline has improved a lot since its tough merger with another state-owned carrier, Indian Airlines, in 2006, when sought comments about its decision to take in Air India.
Star Alliance has been aching to take an Indian carrier to its fold to capture a sizable market share in the subcontinent. Currently, the alliance has only 13% share in India's total international traffic through its members such as Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Swiss International, and Turkish Airlines.
Overall, Star Alliance currently has 52 members in its roster, 26 of which are full members and 25 member affiliates, the sub-unit airlines of the full-member carriers.
By: Pete Lee.