SkyTeam To Woo IndiGo

Friday, 21st June 2013 at 07:30am

Indian airlines may not be left out of the major alliances, after all, as SkyTeam, the world's second largest airline alliance is now eyeing IndiGo as its newest recruit to represent the subcontinent.

SkyTeam originally was considering Jet Airways as well before the latter's tie-up with Etihad recently. Now that Jet Airways is out of the picture, IndiGo is now the only possible Indian airline to make it to the alliance.

SkyTeam was founded in 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines, and Korean Air. It has grown into the world's second largest alliance with 19 full-member airlines from five continents serving close to 1,000 airports in more than 180 countries.

According to Bruno Georgelin, Air France-KLM Commercial Director, India is an important market not to be ignored. It is a growing market and there should be a member airline coming from the country.

He added that the alliance is not pursuing Jet Airways anymore after its recent deal with Etihad. However, he told the media that the alliance might initiate a codeshare agreement between Jet and any of its members in the near future.

He also remarked that the partnership between Jet and Etihad should be a good sign for the aviation industry in India to take a respite after years of losing streak. Any investment by a foreign airline with in an Indian airline, whether through a stake purchase or simple codeshare agreement, should help the country's aviation industry ease out of its doldrums.

The alliance executive showed his interest in getting a member carrier from India but admitted that they have not reached a conclusion yet after attempts of exploratory talks with either IndiGo or Jet.

He, however, disclosed that the alliance is already in advanced stage with Jet Airways' Chief Naresh Goyal, on codesharing flights with its present members.

Two other major alliances have tried to get an airline to represent India in their respective rosters but, for some reasons, in vain.

Kingfisher was supposed to join Oneworld in February 2012 but was put on hold after it encountered financial hardships that led to the grounding of its planes and its flight operations in a shamble.

Air India applied for membership in Star Alliance but has been put on hold also due to some issues including its debt problems as well as labor disputes with some of its employees. The government has since bailed out the airline from possible bankruptcy by paying its debt amounting to several billions of dollars.

The Indian government has warned that no Indian airline be admitted to any global alliances ahead of the state-owned carrier.

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